Australian flights resume as Chile volcano ash clears

Passenger at Melbourne airport (21 June 2011) Qantas said 50,000 passengers would be affected by Tuesday and Wednesday's disruption

Related Stories

Flights are gradually resuming from airports across Australia after two days of cancellations caused by an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano.

Qantas and Virgin jets took off from Adelaide on Wednesday morning. Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney airports were expected to resume flights later.

But the ash is heading towards New Zealand, where disruption is expected.

Many travellers spent the night at airports as flights were disrupted for the second time in just over a week.

Last week, tens of thousands of people had their travel plans ruined as ash from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano passed over several Australian cities and New Zealand.

By last Friday, all flights were running normally, but the ash cloud circled the Earth for a second time and caused further disruption.

This time, the plume hovered at between 20,000 and 40,000ft (6-13km), which experts advised was too low for airlines to fly underneath.

If volcanic ash particles are ingested into a jet engine, they accumulate and clog it with molten glass, which can cause the engine to shut down.

'Optimistic'

On Wednesday, Andrew Tupper of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre said Hobart would be the only state capital with ash over it at the end of the day.

Useful Links

Jets on the tarmac at Sydney's international airport (21 June 2011)

He told Australia's ABC that most of the ash was heading towards New Zealand and was unlikely to reappear over Australia.

"The volcano is still erupting but not at the same levels. It is very unusual for ash clouds to do two circuits of the globe," he said.

Flights to New Zealand will continue to be disrupted by the ash cloud, but Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said it was possible all flight schedules would return to normal on Thursday.

Despite the forecast, passengers are still facing significant delays and are advised to contact their airlines for updates.

Virgin said 13,000 domestic passengers would be affected on Wednesday, while Qantas said it expected 30,000 to be delayed, on top of the 20,000 who were left stranded by Tuesday's disruption.

Greyhound is running extra bus services in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to help clear the backlog, while trains between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne will have extra carriages.

The Tourism and Transport Forum said the ash had caused the largest disruption to Australia's aviation industry since a pilots' strike in 1989.

Analysts at Macquarie Equities estimate the disruptions will cost Qantas about $21m and Virgin $11m.

Map showing the path of the ash cloud around the world

Have you been affected by the ash cloud? Send us your comments using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

Read the terms and conditions

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia-Pacific stories

RSS

Features

  • The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince GeorgeGorgeous George

    Baby steals show as tour reveals rise in support for monarchy


  • Houses of ParliamentBig impact?

    How a Scottish Yes vote would change the UK Parliament


  • Kim Jong-un visits a children's campThe Notepad Men

    Who are the people who take down Kim Jong-un's every word?


  • Donald Tusk7 days quiz

    What made Poland's prime minister become an internet hit?


  • Beebcoins logoMaking money

    How easy is to coin your own virtual currency?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.