The volcanic ash is affecting not only the European skies, but flights to Israel as well. El Al flights are taking a more southern jet stream than the one usually used, flying below Italy as it approaches Europe,
rather than the more northern route.
Passenger times are not effected significantly, because it still falls within the published times. Airlines generally allot more time on the flight times than is really necessary to factor in delays on the tarmac.
The direct El Al flight from NY to Israel is published as 10 hours and twenty minutes. The flight back adds an hour.
“We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet,” a spokesman for the international airline industry said.
An estimated three-quarters of all European flights flights were cancelled on Shabbos. About 20 countries closed their airspace; some have extended flight bans into Monday.
Scientists say the Icelandic volcano activity shows no sign of abating.
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK
Spain (Madrid airport open but Iberia flights to northern Europe cancelled; seven airports in northern Spain were closed briefly on Shabbos.)
Belarus: No flights between 7,000-11,000m (23,000-36,000 ft)
Croatia: (north-western airspace closed)
France (northern airspace, including Paris, closed until Monday)
Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday)
Lithuania (air traffic control leaving decision to fly to individual companies)
Norway (limited flights in north)
Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey
Live: Volcanic cloud over Europe
In pictures: Flight disruption
Economic impact of closures
Icelandic geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told the Associated Press news agency: “It’s the magma mixing with the water that creates the explosivity. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.”
Graeme Leitch, a meteorologist at Britain’s National Weather Service, said light winds and high pressure over Europe meant the cloud was unlikely to be dispersed soon.
“We don’t expect a great deal of change over the next few days,” he told AP.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted little or no improvement on Sunday.
“Right now through most of Europe we do not see many flights moving at all,” spokesman Steve Lott told AFP news agency.
Airlines are losing some £130m ($200m) a day in an unprecedented shutdown of commercial air travel, the IATA says.
Eurocontrol, which co-ordinates air traffic control in 38 nations, said it expected 17,000 flights to be cancelled across Europe on Shabbos, from a total of 22,000 on a normal day.