London: Travel chaos across the European continent worsened on Saturday as a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland forced countries to extend flight bans over their airspace. The volcanic cloud has left millions of passengers stranded or facing indefinite postponement of travel plans.
The British weather forecast service, the Met Office, indicated that "the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is moving around and changing shape", according to a Britain's National Air Traffic Services (NATS) statement.
|Smoke and steam rises from the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland on Wednesday 14 April 2010. Image: Iceland Coastguard|
The volcanic cloud arising from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southeast Iceland forced the cancellation of about 16,000 flights on Friday, and with nations extending the period of flight bans, thousands of additional flights are scheduled to be scrapped by Sunday.
Britain extended a ban over its airspace until 0000 GMT Sunday, along with Denmark. Ireland re-instated flight bans over its airspace until 1700 GMT on Saturday, with Austria, Belgium, France and Switzerland saying their bans would remain in place until 1800 GMT along with Germany.
Poland shut its airspace until further notice, a day before the funeral of its president was due, aviation authorities said.
Europe's three biggest airports, those of London Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt, faced shutdowns because of the volcanic disruption and a global backlog of flights began to build up as a consequence.