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IPFS News Link • Iceland

Travel fears after airlines delay take-off for hours as Iceland's volcano erupts and locals warn


British holidaymakers are waiting anxiously to see if their flights to Iceland will be cancelled or delayed after the nation's volcano erupted last night, with local experts warning 'this is a very different creature to anything we've seen before'.

The eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula just north of the evacuated town of Grindavik began last night at around 10.17 pm after an earthquake swarm, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said, referring to a series of small shakes.

Live-streamed footage of the eruption showed molten lava spewing into the sky from fissures in the ground, surrounded by billowing clouds of red smoke.

There are fears that the eruption, which has seen 200 cubic metres of lava spewing out from the fissures every second, could cause havoc to air traffic travel after another Icelandic eruption in 2010 grounded thousands of flights across Europe and North America and saw holidaymakers stranded.

Flights from Reykjavik's international Keflavik airport were delayed last night, with an EasyJet flight to Manchester standing on the tarmac for five hours before taking off at 1.35am due to the volcanic activity. 

Passengers were told by easyJet: 'We're sorry that your flight has been delayed. This is because volcanic activity in Keflavik (KEF) is causing restrictions to the areas in which aircraft are permitted to fly.' 

British holidaymakers are now waiting anxiously to see if their flights will be cancelled today - but the Icelandic government and airlines including EasyJet have said the airports in Iceland are 'not impacted' and flights should be operating 'as scheduled'.