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Ireland shuts airports Tuesday as ash risk returns

DUBLIN, Ireland — All flights in and out of Ireland have been canceled this morning because of the renewed risk of volcanic ash drifting south from Iceland, the Irish Aviation Authority announced Monday.

But experts said they couldn't tell whether the shifting winds would lead to wider European airspace shutdowns, mirroring last month's crisis when more than 100,000 flights were canceled and airlines estimated they lost more than $2 billion in business.

"We cannot really tell what it is going to do," said University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson.

Ireland's airspace managers said all flights from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. had to be canceled because of "the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the northeasterly winds."

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority also announced a shutdown of air services over Scotland's outermost Hebrides islands Monday night because of the risk that ash could be sucked into jet engines.

The shutdowns were the first in Britain and Ireland since April 22, a week after the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in Iceland.

Ireland shuts airports Tuesday as ash risk returns 05/03/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 3, 2010 11:57pm]

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