Heathrow and Gatwick Airports shut down due to Ash

May 17, 2010 03:55

LONDON — Europe's busiest airport closed early Monday morning as a dense clowd of volcanic ash drifts across England from Iceland, aviation authorities said.

The airspace over London's Heathrow Airport closed at 1 a.m. Monday (0000 GMT; 7 p.m. EDT), Britain's National Air Traffic Service said in a statement late Sunday night.

The restrictions affecting Heathrow — as well as Gatwick, Stansted, and London City airports — will be in place until at least 7 a.m. Monday, the aviation authority said.

Airports across Britain and Ireland were closed for much of Sunday because of the drifting ash. The shifting of the no-fly zone southward will allow airports in northern England — including the key cities of Manchester and Liverpool — to reopen after 1 a.m.

But all airports in Northern Ireland, as well as some Scottish facilities, will remain shut.

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