Chilean eruption continues to ground flights

Chilean eruption continues to ground flights

Tens of thousands of passengers across South American and Australia have had flights disrupted due to the Chilean volcanic ash cloud.

More than 110 Qantas flights were cancelled on Sunday and Monday, delaying at least 20,000 travellers. As many as 25,000 more passengers have been disrupted by Qantas's offshoot Jetstar suspending some flights.

Qantas and Jetstar lifted a ban on flights to and from Melbourne but services in and out of Tasmania and New Zealand remain grounded. Flights to Adelaide by Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger were also suspended with a review on the situation expected later today.

The eruption of the Puyehue volcano, high in the Andes in southern Chile, entered a second week, spewing ash that has disrupted air travel on a scale unseen since the volcanic cloud over Iceland paralysed European air space last year.

Buenos Aires airports suspended domestic and international flights on Sunday night for the third time in a week, prompting a crisis meeting on Monday to assess the situation, the Argentine Civil Aviation Administration said.

Aviation authorities in Buenos Aires re-opened the city's two main airports at 9pm local time. But the Chilean Meteorological Service said prevailing winds would continue to blow the ash into Argentina through to Wednesday.

The June 4 eruption has been hardest for tourist areas near the volcano like the alpine resort of Bariloche, whose airport has been closed for a week, and Villa Angostura, which is 18 miles away.

Strong winds have carried the ash cloud half way around the world, snarling travel as far away as Australia.


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