Tasman flights continue to be disrupted by ash

By Doug Newhouse |

The ash cloud from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano that has been plaguing Australasian air space for a week caused the grounding of Australian airlines on routes to New Zealand again today, although Air New Zealand reported that it operated most of its flights normally by flying under the cloud.

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin all cancelled their flights across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand today, although international services elsewhere were said to have returned to near normality.

The Tasman route is the busiest for most major carriers in Australia and New Zealand and the week-long disruption to flights on this route and many others has taken a grim toll on the country’s tourism revenues, according to Australia’s Transport Ministry and especially following the impact from the terrible natural disasters which beset the country earlier in the year.

The good news both yesterday and today is that airlines have been clearing the backlog of domestic passengers who have been stranded at Australian airports in particular and this situation is expected to be near normality tomorrow.

The ash cloud itself is now said to be breaking up – having circumnavigated the world twice – although experts are warning that the same scenario could be repeated if the volcano in Chile becomes highly active again. At this time, eruptions are said to be minor, although underlying volcanic activity is still high.



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