Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 16:38 UK

HMS Ark Royal 'beyond' volcanic ash plume

Harrier GR9 on HMS Ark Royal. Image: Royal Navy
The Harrier GR9 jets are not flying from HMS Ark Royal

Helicopter crews on the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal have been cleared for training flights after a cloud of volcanic ash grounded all UK flights.

The vessel is involved in Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said HMS Ark Royal was "beyond the boundary" of the plume released from a volcanic eruption on Iceland.

A MoD spokeswoman said fixed-wing aircraft were still grounded.

Flights in UK airspace have been disrupted since Thursday morning amid concerns the ash would damage aircraft engines.

Helicopters have been able to operate because they fly at a lower altitude than where the dust is in the atmosphere.

The MoD spokeswoman said helicopters on HMS Ark Royal had returned to training, but the carrier's Harrier GR9 jets had not.

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