The cloud of volcanic ashes reached America
The effects of the cloud of volcanic ashes that is crippling the air traffic in Europe reached America, where several airlines began to cancel their flights and the Heads of State of Canada and the United States canceled their presence at the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
Last Saturday in Europe, the air traffic was shut and were canceled 17 thousand flights.
Denis Chagnon ICAO spokesman reported that “there aren’t percise numbers available at the moment, but we estimate that the impact exceeds the 2001 (Sept. 11 attack on U.S. twin towers) in terms of flights canceled and inconvenience caused to airports.”
And added that “Financially, the impact of the current situation could be worst than in 2001.”
The closure of European air space also had an impact across the Atlantic as U.S. airlines canceled on Saturday its flights to Europe.
The U.S. Air Transport Association reported that “Of the 337 US-Europe flights in both directions provided by U.S. companies, 282 were canceled.”
ATA extended the statement adding that “Lufthansa Airlines, British Airways and Air France canceled their flights from Argentina to France, Germany and Great Britain.”
Victor Manuel Mejia, a spokesman for the airport said that “in Mexico were canceled 18 operations (arrivals and departures) from 14 to 16 April at the Capital International Airport.” On Friday, 10 flights were canceled of the airline KLM Air France, British Airways, Aeromexico and Mexicana,” and that “We estimate that this weekend will be canceled a similar number of operations. “
The closure of the airports made impossible the assistance of American officials to the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Barack Obama, U.S. President and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, canceled their trips to Poland.
President Obama, as reported by the White House, said “I spoke with the president in charge (Bronislaw) Komorowski and told him that I regretted not being able to go to Poland because of the volcanic ashes that are disturbing the airspace in Europe.”
Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudan stated that “Since the airspace remains closed in Europe, Prime Minister Stephen Harper unfortunately will not able to attend the state funeral of Lech Kaczynski and his wife.”
In Spain, Catalan Aena airports closed and Asturias, Cantabria, Navarra, Basque Country and the Balearic Islands also until 8:00 pm.
1209 flights were canceled, more than half of those scheduled for today.
The closed airports are: Barcelona, Girona, Reus, Sabadell, Asturias, Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Pamplona, Logroño, Palma de Mallorca and Menorca, which will remain without activity from 08:30 am today until 8: 00 pm, according to Aena. There was also closed the airport of Lleida, which does not belong to the Aena network, said the airport authority in a statement.
The closure of airports in northern Spain coincides with the ones of the Southwest of France: Toulouse, Montpellier and Biarritz, which add to the ones yesterday in Paris (Charles de Gaulle and Orly).
The delegation of Uruguay was forced to reschedule their flights for next Tuesday to attend the hearing of the International Court of Justice in The Hague where there will be announced the poblem of an environmental dispute with Argentina.