Iceland Volcano; skies improving - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Iceland Volcano; skies improving

BERLIN (AP) - The skies may become more inviting for hundreds of thousands of air travelers stranded around the globe by a large volcanic ash cloud over Europe. Meteorologists in Iceland say eruptions from the volcano are weakening, and the ash is no longer rising to a height where it will endanger large commercial aircraft. Many of Europe's biggest airports have been shut down for days and thousands of flights have been canceled.

Germany's aviation authority is breaking the flight deadlock, granting an exception for Lufthansa to fly 50 long-haul planes carrying about 15,000 passengers back home using visual flight rules.

Also, Britain says flight restrictions over Scottish airspace will be lifted tomorrow morning and other British airports could reopen later in the day as well.

Nevertheless, air traffic control officials say fewer than one-third of flights in Europe are taking off today, mostly in southern Europe where airports are open. The shutdown is costing the airline industry at least $200 million a day, and by some estimates up to $300 million a day.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

AP-NY-04-19-10 1140EDT

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