London: All flights from India to London have been cancelled due ash spewed from a volcano, erupted in nearby Iceland, making visibility very poor. The Eyjafjallajokull glacier had erupted on Wednesday, leaving tons of smoke and ash in the atmosphere.
The grounding of flights on the British Airport came as hundreds of people fled Iceland because of rising flood waters around the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier.
It is believed that the tiny particles of glass, rock and sand present in the ash cloud may jam aircraft engines like they had once done to a British Airways plane in 1982.
Shutdown of such a large number of European airports, including Heathrow, has been done owing to security reasons for the first time.
Europe`s busiest airport — London`s Heathrow — had at least 150 flights canceled, while London`s Gatwick airport had 138 canceled early morning itself.
In Britain, flights were suspended in the English cities of Manchester and Birmingham, as well as in Northern Ireland`s Belfast and the Scottish airports at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
European air traffic from Scotland to Scandinavia and the Netherlands was disrupted by volcanic ash spreading from Iceland, closing down airports and stalling flights.
Air traffic in northern Finland was also halted.
Airport chiefs said that the ash is likely to pass northern England by the afternoon, but, as of now, all flights had been cancelled.
The halting of operations at airports in London as well as major European cities has caused much inconvenience and confusion among passengers. The airlines have already stated that they would be refunding passengers or offering them the option to take another flight.
The eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area is the second in a month, but this time it has released ash to significantly greater heights.
Iceland, a nation of 320,000 people, sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic`s mid-oceanic ridge.