Volcanic ash to close London’s Heathrow airport

LONDON (AP) — Europe’s busiest airport closed early Monday morning as a dense crowd of volcanic ash drifts across England from Iceland, aviation authorities said.

The airspace over London’s Heathrow Airport closed at 1 a.m. Monday (0000 GMT; 7 p.m. EDT), Britain’s National Air Traffic Service said in a statement late Sunday night.

The restrictions affecting Heathrow — as well as Gatwick, Stansted, and London City airports — will be in place until at least 7 a.m. Monday, the aviation authority said.

Airports across Britain and Ireland were closed for much of Sunday because of the drifting ash. The shifting of the no-fly zone southward will allow airports in northern England — including the key cities of Manchester and Liverpool — to reopen after 1 a.m.

But all airports in Northern Ireland, as well as some Scottish facilities, will remain shut.

In Ireland, Dublin’s international airport closed early Sunday evening until at least 12 p.m. Monday (1100 GMT, 7 a.m. EDT). Some airports in Ireland’s west were closed and will reopen at different times Monday, but Shannon and southern Cork were open “until further notice.”

The British air traffic agency said the ash cloud was changing shape and moving south, toward Oxford, England, 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of London. Britain’s weather service says the northwest winds should shift midweek, redirecting the ash away from Britain.

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