October 18, 2017

Aussie flights cancelled as Chile volcano ash cloud strikes again

To air travellers in Australia and New Zealand with love from Chile. Your travel plans are ash to ashes.

Air travel in Australia has been disrupted as a second cloud of volcanic ash from the Chile Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain drifts into Australian airspace.

In Sydney, all domestic Qantas and Jetstar flights to and from the city from 3pm today have been suspended. All Virgin flights from 4pm have been cancelled.

Qantas said it was reviewing its international flights to and from Sydney. Four flights departing Sydney and bound for London and Frankfurt via Bangkok and Singapore were rescheduled to leave earlier at 2.15pm. Flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney has been diverted to Brisbane.

All Jetstar flights arriving and departing Newcastle have also been cancelled from 3pm. Virgin’s Newcastle flights were suspended from 4pm.

For Victoria, Virgin has cancelled all flights to Mildura for today and to and from Melbourne from 4pm. Qantas added that its Melbourne flights may also be affected at some time today.

For Canberra, all Qantas flights to and from Canberra have been suspended from 12pm. All Virgin Australia flights have been cancelled from 1pm.

For Adelaide, all airlines have suspended their flights for the rest of the day.

In Queensland, Virgin said flights to and from the Gold Coast were being affected by the cloud, and Brisbane Airport issued a warning that flights to and from the capital were likely to be cancelled or delayed.

In Tasmania, Virgin flights into and out of airports in Hobart and Launceston have been suspended.

Tiger Airways has grounded its entire fleet in Australia.

Passengers were urged to stay in touch with their airlines. Lets hope you have better luck getting through than last weeks effort by the airlines.

Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth told Sky News this morning: “We simply don’t have enough information and it will be safety before schedule.”

“We don’t know the density [of the cloud]. … The Qantas group will not be flying or around the particular cloud.”

“Customers are advised not travel to the airport if their flight has been cancelled. A fare waiver is in place and full details can be accessed on qantas.com,” Qantas added in a statement.

Airservices Australia said “significant nationwide flow-on delays” were expected. It added that flights from Perth heading towards south-eastern Australia would be affected and advised passengers to contact their airlines directly.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said the cloud will cross the South Australian coast this morning and then the southern NSW coast late today.

Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain began erupting on 4th June, shooting a plume of ash into the air which made its way across the Atlantic and Indian oceans before reaching Australian and New Zealand airspace.

The air cloud has travelled around Earth one-and-a-half times and is “particularly persistent in the atmosphere”, Airservices Australia said.

Last week, almost 100,000 people and 700 flights were affected by the ash plume over six days of air chaos spanning from Perth to New Zealand.