Globe-Circling Volcanic Ash Disrupts Australian Flights Again

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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Australia's transportation minister says three of the country's major airports could be affected for the next few days because of the return of a large cloud of ash from a Chilean volcano.

Anthony Albanese told reporters Tuesday that weather forecasters say Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney will be affected over the next day or two. The head of the Darwin-based Volcanic Ash Advisory Center says the cloud will move over southern Australia Wednesday.

National airline Qantas canceled all flights in and out of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for Wednesday, after suspending numerous domestic flights on Tuesday. It also canceled six flights from Sydney to New Zealand.

This is the second time in as many weeks domestic and international air service in Australia has been disrupted by ash from Chile's Puyehue Cordon Caulle volcano, which erupted June 4. The skies cleared late last week but the cloud has since circled the globe and come back again.

The return of the volcanic ash cloud forced three other domestic Australian airlines – Jetstar, Virgin Australia, and Tiger – to either postpone or cancel dozens of flights on Tuesday.