England

Ash delays at Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports

Passengers using airports in the north-east of England are facing delays and cancellations because of drifting ash from an Icelandic volcanic eruption.

A number of flights have been cancelled at both Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports, although the airports themselves remain open.

At Newcastle, flights to several UK and European destinations were affected.

Morning flights to Aberdeen from Durham Tees Valley as well as later departures to Southampton were also cancelled.

At Newcastle, flights to and from Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Faro and Malta were cancelled. Services to UK destinations including London Gatwick, Aberdeen, Exeter and Belfast were also affected.

BA and Easyjet flights to and from Newcastle were grounded, but Easyjet said it was hoping that the evening flight to and from Alicante would go ahead.

At Durham Tees Valley, flights to and from Aberdeen and Southampton were cancelled.

The cancellations come just over a year after another volcanic eruption in Iceland caused widespread disruption across Europe, including the closure of UK airspace, amid concerns about the damage volcanic ash could cause to engine aircraft.

This year, in the UK, the decision on whether to fly or not in ash cloud conditions is down to individual airlines, although they have to apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for final approval.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the UK was "better" prepared than it had been in 2010.

But he added travellers had to learn to live with such disruption caused by volcanic activity in Iceland following an "unusually quiet period" in the last 20 years.

The Grimsvotn volcano in Vatnajokull National Park began erupting on Saturday.

The Foreign Office is advising passengers to remain in regular contact with their travel agent or airline for the latest news on the status of flights and bookings.

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