Wellington: Air travel in New Zealand was disrupted on Wednesday when Australian carriers Qantas and Jetstar cancelled a range of South Island flights due to the ash cloud from Chile`s Puyehue volcano.
Qantas said all flights to and from the South Island cities of Christchurch and Queenstown had been grounded, while its budget offshoot Jetstar cancelled its domestic Queenstown services.
"The safety of our passengers, our people and our operations is always Jetstar’s number one priority," Jetstar said.
Air New Zealand services were operating normally, with the airline opting to fly beneath the ash plume, which meteorologists said was sitting at an altitude of about 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) over parts of the South Island.
Qantas and Jetstar have cancelled scored of flights in Australia and New Zealand since the Puyehue volcano, high in the Andes, erupted on June 04, amid fears the resulting ash cloud could affect jet engines.