Flights resume after Chilean ash cloud

Flights resume after Chilean ash cloud

Flights in Australia have started returning to normal after days of travel chaos caused by the Chile ash cloud, but some services to New Zealand remain grounded.

Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar were all planning to resume flying on badly disrupted routes to Perth and Tasmania due to the ash from the erupting Puyehue volcano.

But with the plume detected at lower levels than previously recorded in New Zealand, Qantas once again cancelled all trans-Tasman flights as well as to the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires.

“Qantas is urging all customers to reconsider any non-urgent travel and defer their travel plans wherever possible,” the airline said.

Virgin, which had previously opted to continue most of its New Zealand services by flying around or under the ash, suspended flights into and out of Auckland and Hamilton.

Air New Zealand had been bypassing the ash but it was forced to ground many domestic services today, with the cities of Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill affected. Two international flights from Christchurch to Australia were also cancelled.

The widespread flight disruption followed the June 4 eruption of the Puyehue volcano, which had lain dormant for half a century.

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