While many travellers’ plans have turned to ash because of the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Greek Australians travelling to Greece are on their way.
Members of the Greek Australian community have informed Neos Kosmos that as soon as they arrived at the airport they were advised by various airline companies that they could only be guaranteed Greece as a destination.
The advice came mainly from Singapore and Emirates Airlines.
While flights to Western, Central and Northern Europe, have been cancelled, flights to Athens and parts of the Mediterranean have been rescheduled.
By the time that Neos Kosmos went to print last night, the Singapore Airlines web site reported that, most of the flights from Rome to Singapore, Singapore to Rome, Barcelona to Rome and consequently from Athens to Singapore and Singapore to Athens, were flying.
Internationally, millions of stranded travellers face continued disappointment and misery as the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull disgorges its ash into the atmosphere. The volcanic ash has closed most of Europe’s airspace.
Aviation experts say that the ash of this volcano is particularly dangerous. The volcano is located under a glacier and the erupting lava is cooled immediately by ice and cold water.
The lava fragments into glass and some of those glass particles get swept up into the ash plume, making it extremely hazardous.
European nations have shut down all or part of their airspace, grounding tens of thousands of flights and stranding millions of passengers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America.
There are no signs of abating, scientists have said in various reports, raising the prospect of further days of flight bans.
“There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight,” Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, an Icelandic geologist monitoring the volcano, said on Saturday.
Edwin Zanen, a Dutch geologist who is in Iceland observing the volcano, said the inferno driving the eruptions had, if anything, been growing in strength.
“It’s a real inferno we’re looking at,” he said.
Singapore Airlines spokeswoman Susan Bredow, as reported on the ABC website, said the airline flies 1,000 passengers a day to Europe from Australia, so a huge backlog is developing.
“Some ports that were still open yesterday are now closed today,” she added.
Ms Bredow said Europe-bound passengers flying out of Australia are being urged to stay at home.
Qantas has cancelled all inbound and outbound services to Europe. Its passengers are being transferred to the next available scheduled flight or offered a refund.
Some airlines have already said they are not flying into northern Europe until Monday at the earliest.
But industry insiders worry the situation is a little more dire. They predict movement is four or five days away at best.
Airlines are losing more than $200 million a day and are watching their share prices fall.
Iceland’s volcano continues to belch out ash and grit and scientists warn this could be the case for weeks and even months.