European air services are likely to continue being disrupted on Monday, with airports and regulators saying that they will take a precautionary stance until the situation becomes clearer.

BAA, the UK airport operator, says for example that its airports will remain closed at least until 19.00h on Monday.

"This is due to volcanic ash spreading across the UK from Iceland, which has caused restrictions to be placed on the use of UK airspace by the air traffic control service (NATS)," says BAA.

Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, said at the end of Sunday that approximately 5,000 flights took place in the region that day. On a normal day, the number would reach 24,000.

Air traffic control services are unavailable in most parts of Europe. This includes Belgium, parts of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, parts of France, most of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, northern Italy, the Netherlands, parts of Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.

"In some of these areas the upper airspace has been made available, depending on the observed and forecasted area of possible ash contamination. However, it is difficult to access this airspace as in most cases the surrounding area is not available for flights," says Eurocontrol.

Southern Europe, including Spain, Portugal, the southern Balkan area, southern Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey are open and flights are taking place in these areas, it adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news