Volcanic ash disrupting European flights

Airline travelers in Los Angeles and around the world were backed up today as British and European airports closed due to volcanic ash in the atmosphere that could damage jet engines.

No flights in our out of San Diego are affected, but all flights out of Los Angeles International Airport to British airports were canceled Thursday - until at least 10 p.m. Pacific time. Five airlines serving LAX have about 10 flights daily to the United Kingdom.

The first flight to London Thursday, a United Airlines, was scheduled for 12:45 p.m., NBC4 reported.

One of the last Los Angeles-bound flights to make it out of the United Kingdom before British airspace was closed was a United flight set to arrive at 2:38 p.m., Channel 4 reported.

At least one Virgin Atlantic flight and one British Airways flight were canceled late last night, according to Marshall Lowe of Los Angeles World Airports.

Marshall said United Airlines and American Airlines have already canceled all flights bound for Europe today, and cancellations by British Airways, Air New Zealand and Lufthansa were also expected.

The airspace over Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden was also closed due to the eruption in Iceland. The interruption in air traffic is believed to be the biggest since World War II.

Officials at Heathrow Airport, Britain's busiest, were telling ticketed travelers to go home, because they had no estimate for when flights would resume. Some 45,000 people were reported stranded at the Manchester airport Thursday morning.

It was unclear how long atmosphere would be fouled, because the volcano was still erupting this morning.

   
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