Air Travel to Europe May Face New Setback

Air-traffic authorities in Britain are now warning that new volcanic-ash clouds from Iceland may set back their efforts to reopen air travel in and out of the U.K. on Tuesday.

In a statement issued late on Monday (London time), NATS, Britain's air-traffic-control service, announced that since its distribution of a relatively optimistic bulletin earlier in the day, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano had "strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK."

Based on this, NATS said the prospect for reopening airports in Northern Ireland—the part of the U.K. closest to Iceland—is considered "uncertain, due to the new ash cloud." NATS said its latest estimate is that airports in Scotland might be opened to traffic from 7 a.m. London time, and more airspace over England may become available from 1 p.m. However, NATS warned that the main London airports are likely to remain shut until later.

Following a conference call on Monday between aviation authorities throughout Europe, countries further south on the continent indicated they were considering reopening air traffic, but perhaps restricting it to relatively narrow corridors.