Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 22:05 UK

Southampton Airport cancels all flights over ash cloud

Queue at Southampton Airport
Passengers faced long delays at Southampton Airport

All flights in and out of Southampton Airport have been cancelled until Friday due to an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcanic eruption.

The Air Traffic Control Service said no flights would be allowed in or out of UK airspace until at least 1900 BST on Friday amid fears of engine damage.

Southampton Airport said all services had been cancelled for the remainder of the day.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has also been grounded.

Southampton Airport advised passengers to contact their airline for more information about rebooking and refunds.

Second eruption

An airport spokeswoman said 136 flights were scheduled for the day but only 12 operated before the ban came into effect at midday on Thursday.

Smoke and steam rises from the volcano
The eruption is the second in Iceland in less than a month

James Hansard was due to fly from Southampton to Manchester.

He said: "I heard on the national news that Scotland flights weren't likely to go, but I thought I would be OK going to Manchester.

"I have been in some fairly tense situations with flights being cancelled, but I think there was an acceptance from people that this was the right way to go and not to fly."

Every airport in the UK affected, with airspace also being closed in Republic of Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Belgium among other countries.

The UK's air traffic control service (Nats) suggested that the restrictions were unlikely to be lifted after 1300 BST on Friday, saying saying it was "very unlikely that the situation over England will improve in the foreseeable future".

The airspace restriction is the worst in living memory, a spokesman said.

The volcanic eruption under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland is the second in Iceland in less than a month.

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