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Second day of ash flight chaos expected.

Summary: Officials are bracing the nation for a second day of travel chaos as UK air space is set to stay closed to at least 1900 on Friday.

Aviation officials are bracing the nation for a second day of travel chaos as most of Britain's air space is set to remain closed to all but emergency flights until at least 1900 on Friday, due to the clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland.

An update is due this morning but airline companies are currently advising travellers to stay away from airports. Some flights from Northern Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick might be allowed to fly up to 1200 GMT, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said in a statement.

Britain closed its air space on Thursday after a volcano in southern Iceland hurled a plume of ash four to seven miles into the atmosphere and it drifted south. Aviation experts said the ash could cause jet engines to fail.

A spokesman at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, said 840 out of 1,250 flights on Thursday were affected, disrupting about 180,000 passengers. More than 120,000 other passengers were affected at Gatwick, Stansted and Glasgow airports.

It was the first time within living memory that a natural disaster had caused such a halt, a spokeswoman for NATS said. Even after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Britain did not close its air space.

The European air safety organisation said the disruption, the biggest seen in the region, could last another two days and a leading volcano expert said the ash could present intermittent problems to air traffic for six months if the eruption continued.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 16, 2010
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