European Flight Cancellations Move Into Saturday The eruption of a volcano in Iceland has spread a vast cloud of ash across much of northern Europe, causing chaos for air travelers. Worried that the fine particles in the cloud will damage jet engines, authorities have closed much of the airspace — leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded, and trans-Atlantic air travel at a virtual standstill.
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European Flight Cancellations Move Into Saturday

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European Flight Cancellations Move Into Saturday

European Flight Cancellations Move Into Saturday

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Among the latest to close airports, were Germany and France, and Eleanor Beardsley has this report from Paris.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Callers to Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport last night, heard the following message.

U: Your attention, please. Air traffic is disrupted in the United Kingdom and in Northern Europe. Please contact your airline before going to the airport.

BEARDSLEY: Earlier yesterday, Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and Norway had already shutdown their air spaces. One traveler at the Oslo Airport, Carmella Havinsten(ph), called the situation surreal.

CARMELLA HAVINSTEN: (Through Translator) I'm, of course, sad that my plane was canceled. But at the same time, there's nothing we can do it about it. It's just impossible to predict stuff like this. It's just plain weird.

BEARDSLEY: Brian Flynn is deputy head of operations for Eurocontrol, which regulates the flow of air traffic in 40 European countries. He says it's not just a question of the loss of visibility.

BRIAN FLYNN: The volcanic ash cloud contains minute particles of sand, of glass, of various types of rubble that can be very dangerous if they're ingested into the engine of a jet aircraft.

BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

MONTAGNE: And a bit of good news, Ireland now says the air has cleared enough there to reopen airports in Dublin and Cork. COST: $00.00

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