Ash cloud disrupts TA flights to London

Iceland eruption causes London-bound El Al plane to return to Israel.

icelandVolcano311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
An El Al London-bound flight had to return to Israel on Thursday due to a cloud of volcanic ash covering large parts of Northern Europe and seriously disrupting air travel in the area.
The cloud formed after a huge eruption of a volcano in Iceland earlier this week.
Authorities in Britain and Norway shut down Europe's busiest airport at Heathrow and canceled hundreds of flights.
Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said non-emergency flights wouldbe banned until at least 6 p.m. (1700 GMT, 1 p.m. EDT). Irishauthorities also closed their air space for eight hours.
LondonHeathrow, Europe's business airport, handles upwards of 1,200 flightsand 180,000 passengers per day. The closure also affected London'ssecond- and third-largest airports, Gatwick and Stansted. It was notimmediately clear when flights would resume.
With the majortrans-Atlantic hub at Heathrow closed, dozens of flights to the UnitedStates were on hold, and cancellations spread across the continent tomajor hubs at Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva and Paris, where flightsheading north were canceled until midnight.