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Chile volcano halts more flights

A drifting plume of ash from Chile's erupting volcano has forced new cancellations of dozens of flights in Argentina, Uruguay and other South American countries.

Buenos Aires' two main airports halted flights due to the cloud of fine grit, which can damage plane engines. The cloud has also drifted across the Pacific Ocean, and most flights between Australia and New Zealand remained grounded.

In Argentina, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was among those inconvenienced by the closings of Buenos Aires' airports. He was forced to fly instead into the city of Cordoba and travel by car to visit President Cristina Fernandez in the capital.

All flights were cancelled at the international airport in Montevideo, Uruguay, and some were grounded in Chile, Paraguay and Brazil.

Airlines in Australia started flying a backlog of thousands of stranded passengers to and from the city of Melbourne as ash cleared after forcing hundreds of cancellations. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the ash cloud was large enough to disrupt more flights later in the week.

Chile's Cordon Caulle volcano began erupting on June 4. Since then, about 4,000 Chileans have been evacuated from the area.

Last week, the ash cloud grounded hundreds of flights in parts of South America.

Aerolineas Argentinas rerouted incoming flights from Europe on Monday away from Buenos Aires and instead to Cordoba, about 430 miles to the north west.

Other regional airports in southern Argentina have been closed since last week.

Brazilian airlines Gol and TAM informed passengers that flights to Argentina and Uruguay were called off until further notice because of unsafe conditions caused by the shifting ashes. In Chile, the airline LAN halted some flights between Santiago and various cities in South America, as well as to Australia and New Zealand. In Colombia, Avianca suspended flights between Bogota and Buenos Aires.


From Belfast Telegraph