Eruption causes flight delays

Air travellers out of Nelson today hoping to reach North Island destinations are warned to expect delays due to ash cloud from the volcanic eruption.

Air New Zealand advises that flights operating to airports east of Mount Tongariro, including Gisborne, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier and Palmerston North, may be delayed or cancelled as a result of the Mount Tongariro eruption.

Airways New Zealand said airlines will be taking aircraft on a flight path well above or around the ash cloud. Aircraft will not fly within an eight-mile ring of the cloud.

Air New Zealand is advising passengers to check the airline’s website for flight arrivals and departures information which will be constantly updated throughout the day.

Corporate communications manager Tracy Smeaton said because the ash cloud was constantly changing it was not definite at any one time which areas would be affected. The best advice for passengers was to keep checking the Air New Zealand website for updates.

Airlines are working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority, the MetService and other authorities to keep up to date with ash movement and forecasts.

Air New Zealand general manager airline operations and safety, and chief pilot, captain David Morgan said the airline is working with the relevant authorities to safely make adjustments to flight routes to ensure aircraft remain clear of any ash and keep providing a safe service to the travelling public.

“We will not fly through ash and are constantly taking guidance from the CAA and the MetService to ensure we can continue to carry passengers where safe routes and altitudes are available.”