Sunday, June 12, 2011

Airlines Cancel Australasian Flights Due To Ash

Volcanic ash from an eruption in Chile continues to disrupt flights in New Zealand, southern Australia and international flights out of the region as airlines cancel services on safety concerns. Qantas Airways (QAN.AU) has cancelled flights to and from Tasmania and to New Zealand but has now resumed flights to and from Melbourne. "Qantas will continue to monitor the movement of the ash cloud and assess its impact on flight operations as the situation," the airline said in a statement. Qantas has also canceled three international
flights to Buenos Aires and Los Angeles because of the ash cloud, which drifted from South America after the Puyehue volcano in Chile erupted. After cancelling flights Sunday, Virgin Australia said it resumed some flights from 2100 GMT Sunday into and out of Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand. "Overnight we have been monitoring closely the situation and we now believe that conditions are safe to operate," Virgin Australia said in a statement. An Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR.NZ) spokeswoman said the airline continued to operate flights by using alternative flight paths and had altered its cruising altitudes to avoid the ash, but hadn't had to delay or cancel any flights. "The extra distance involved required the use of 10% more fuel, but has meant customers were able to safely get to where they needed to go," said David Morgan, Air New Zealand's chief pilot and general manager for airline operations and safety. Argentina's two largest airports suspended flights again Sunday as they too were plagued by ash from the Chilean volcano.

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