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Volcanic ash cloud: Where is it now - May 18?

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Airports in London, Amsterdam, Scotland, and Ireland all reopened Monday, although airports on the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland, were reportedly still affected late Monday and the situation there appeared fluid Tuesday.

Also on Monday, the British Court of Appeal barred a five-day labor strike planned for May 18-22, ruling that British Airways members violated labor laws on strike-vote notification. The ruling allows British Airways to carry an additional 25,000 people daily, although the airline said it would take several days to return to normal operations.

“We are delighted,” BA said on its website. “We have now started to reinstate some of the previously canceled flights over the next few days into and out of Heathrow.”

Smaller no-fly zone

Further good news for travelers came on Monday from the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which announced that, starting midday Tuesday, it would allow flights through “higher ash densities than is currently permitted.”

“This means that areas of our airspace that would have previously been closed can safely open, further minimizing flight disruption,” the CAA announced on its website. The CAA said the widened fly zone came after analyzing test flights through the current ash cloud over the past month, as well as examining data and evidence compiled from previous volcanic ash incidents combined with additional analysis from manufacturers.

“Unprecedented situations require new measures,” CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines said in a statement, adding that aircraft- and engine-makers should determine what level of ash their planes can tolerate.

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