Ash cloud disrupts travel again

PALOMA MIGONE AND MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 19:20 29/06/2011

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Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar have cancelled flights for tomorrow as ash from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano moves over the South Island.

Qantas has suspended flights to and from Queenstown until further notice, to and from Christchurch until 11pm tomorrow, and to and from Wellington until 2pm tomorrow.

All other New Zealand flights were operation as normal, the airline said.

Jetstar has grounded all flights to and from Queenstown, Christchurch, and Wellington until midday tomorrow.

Air New Zealand was running flights as scheduled.

Thousands of travellers had faced cancellations and delays since the ash first moved over the country’s airspace on June 12.

CAA meteorological manager Peter Lechner said the plume was sitting above the lower half of the South Island, between Dunedin and Hokitika.

He said it would move north and be settled over Christchurch by midnight.

Lechner said the cloud, which is sitting at about 7000 metres, was due to leave New Zealand by tomorrow evening.

He said airlines can operate below 7000 metres, "but it’s up to the airlines to decide whether they will".

"We are not expecting it to reach the North Island, and it will probably be in the South Island in some shape or form for a day or so," he said.

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- Stuff

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