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Bulgaria Flights Canceled to Northern Europe over Volcanic Ash

Date: 15.04.2010

Grounded planes in Heathrow airport, London, Britain, 15 April 2010. Airline passengers are facing massive disruptions across Britian after an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland has grounded planes.

Flights from Bulgaria to most of northern Europe have been canceled over volcanic ash drifting south and east from Iceland. The cancelations could continue for more than 48 hours.

Airspace was closed or flights canceled in countries including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The ash, which can damage aeroplane engines, was produced by a volcanic eruption under a glacier in Iceland.

Flooding was reported as the glacier melted, and up to 800 people were evacuated from the area on Wednesday.

By Thursday afternoon, the UK had shut its airspace and other countries, from Belgium to Scandinavia, were in the process of following suit.

Airspace was shut down to all but emergency flights from midday (1100 GMT) on Thursday to 0700 BST (0600 GMT) on Friday, at the earliest. It was also closed in Ireland.

"Volcanic ash represents a significant safety threat to aircraft," said the UK's Air Traffic Control Service (Nats).

Oslo airport, which is Norway's largest, was closed on Thursday morning, meaning Norwegian airspace was completely closed.

Belgium, Sweden and Denmark announced they would be shutting their entire airspace, northern Finland was closed and the Netherlands was being closed progressively.

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