Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Sunday, 18 April 2010 08:40 UK

Airport stays shut through Sunday

Volcano at southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier
The volcano in Iceland"s Eyjafjallajokull glacier sends ash into the air

The volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland will shut Cardiff airport until at least 1900 BST on Sunday.

The National Air Traffic Service halted all flights, but domestic flights may take off from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England above Leeds.

Passengers should contact airlines or tour operators about specific flights before travelling to the airport, Cardiff airport operator TBI said.

However, ferry operators in Wales continue to see a boost to bookings.

Ferry operator Fastnet Line said it had added extra sailings across the Irish Sea in response to growing demand following the closure of the UK's airspace.

Over the past three days the ferry operator has seen a significant rise in bookings, with foot passenger numbers increasing by more than 200% and vehicle traffic bookings increasing by more than 50%.

Phil Jones, chief executive of Fastnet Line, said: "With disruption to the UK's airspace now entering its third day the impact has caused misery for many thousands of air passengers who are now having to find alternative modes of transport to get them to their destinations."

Singer Whitney Houston was forced to take a ferry from Holyhead on Anglesey to Dublin in order to make her concert in the Ireland capital, according to reports.

Stranded holidaymaker Sheila Sullivan of Swansea is "running short of money, clothes and patience"

The 46-year-old star, who is in the middle of her Nothing But Love world tour, left Birmingham, where the European leg of the tour began, travelling by car to the north Wales port.

A Nats statement said: "The volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is moving around and changing shape.

"We will be coordinating this closely with airlines and airports. Anyone hoping to travel should contact their airline before travelling to the airport."

On Friday, Cardiff Airport's business development director Steve Hodges said the airport could "only apologise" but the cancellations were due to "extraordinary circumstances" and he asked those due to travel for their patience.

"Safety has to be paramount," he added.

MET office image
A colour satellite image highlighting the ash plume moving towards the UK

"There is plenty of evidence of the impact dust can have on engines and I'm sure most people are now aware of that."

A Stena spokesman said there had been a "significant" rise in ferry passengers because of the airline problem, while Irish Ferries said inquiries for reservations had quadrupled compared to the usual volume of calls.

Arriva Trains Wales said it was experiencing increased demand for services as air passengers switched to ferries and trains for travel between the UK and Ireland.

Extra capacity is being added to train services to and from Fishguard Harbour in Pembrokeshire and Holyhead on Anglesey.

Ten chefs from the Welsh national culinary team who are due to compete in a competition in Singapore have been affected by the disruption.

The chefs have spent months preparing for the culinary event, which is due to start on Tuesday, but their flight from Manchester was cancelled.



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