Ash cloud clears after costing Australian airline millions

Updated: 2011-06-23 10:38
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Australian airlines struggled to move a backlog of tens of thousands of passengers on Wednesday after a cloud from a Chilean volcano, which had grounded flights across the country's eastern and southern states, had cleared.

The ash cloud had circled the earth twice, disrupting Australian airlines for a second time. According to estimates, it cost Qantas A$20 million ($21.2 million) before the latest disruptions and the tourism industry more than A$15 million ($15.9 million) in two weeks.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Center said long-term modeling suggested the ash cloud will not pass over Australia for a third time and disrupt airlines.

Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft and cause engine failure or engine damage.

Qantas said it had resumed flights from Melbourne and Sydney, the country's two main terminals, while Virgin Australia had also resumed flights. Qantas' low-cost subsidiary Jetstar and discount carrier Tiger Airlines were also gradually resuming flights.

"There's possibly some hope that Thursday will start to return to normal," said Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson. The majority of international carriers continued flights to and from Australia on Wednesday. The airlines, including Singapore, Thai, and Emirates, landed in Sydney.

A volcano in Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain erupted on June 4 after lying dormant for decades, the latest eruption to hit international travel.

Iceland's most active volcano at Grimsvotn sent a thick plume of ash and smoke 25 kilometers into the sky last month, disrupting air travel in northern Europe.

The eruption of another Icelandic volcano in April 2010 led to 100,000 canceled flights

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Ash cloud clears after costing Australian airline millions

About the broadcaster:

Ash cloud clears after costing Australian airline millions

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.