Chile ash cloud delays more flights on two continents

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Media captionAerial footage of Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano

Flights in South America, Australia and New Zealand are still being disrupted by ash from a volcano in Chile, affecting thousands of passengers.

Hopes of a resumption of air travel from Argentina's capital were dashed after more ash fell on Buenos Aires.

Some services are operating normally in Australia but airline policies differ.

Qantas and Jetstar cancelled all services in and out of Adelaide, Tasmania and New Zealand on Tuesday, but Virgin resumed flights.

"We have our own volcanic ash management team which is a team of experts in everything from engineering to navigation and a Bureau of Meteorology person in-house," Virgin spokesman Colin Lippiat told the AFP news agency.

Farmers' fears

The Puheyeu-Cordon Caulle volcano range in Chile began erupting on 4 June.

Image caption Concerns are growing over the long-term effects of the eruption in southern Chile and Argentina

The volcano, about 800km (500 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, continues to spew ash and smoke.

Experts say it is hard to know when the eruption will run its course.

An eruption in 1960 lasted a fortnight but in 1921, the volcano continued erupting for a couple of months.

Some 4,000 people have been evacuated from the region.

The ash cloud has also hit the Argentine resort of Bariloche, about 100km (62 miles) east of the volcano, where the airport remains closed.

Much ash has fallen on Patagonia, prompting the Argentine authorities to declare an agricultural emergency, Clarin newspaper reported.

Local farmers leaders say they are facing a disastrous situation - a long-running drought now combined with the effects of ash.

Image caption Airlines are trying as far as possible to clear the backlog of flights

Strong winds blew the ash over the southern Atlantic and southern Indian ocean to Australia and New Zealand.

On Monday, winds also carried more ash north-east to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, prompting the closure of airports.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had his flight to Buenos Aires diverted to the northern city of Cordoba, from where he had to take a bus to attend a meeting with Argentine leaders in the capital.

Ash particles have the potential to seriously damage jet engines but analysts say uncertainty regarding the effect of ash on planes complicates the situation.

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