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Travellers facing ash disruption

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With the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano heading towards the UK, major airlines are braced for serious disruption to flights.

Air passengers are being forced to suspend their travel plans as the volcanic cloud, billowing from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano, is resulting in flight cancellations and delays.

Holidaymakers may find it useful to take out a travel insurance policy that is specially designed to cover delay and abandonment claims caused by the volcanic ash cloud, ahead of embarking on a trip.

To avoid travel disruption due to the plume of ash drifting towards the country, even US president Barack Obama decided to amend his itinerary, flying into London ahead of schedule.

The Icelandic ash cloud is forecast to spread across Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as other parts of the UK throughout Tuesday.

Commenting on the situation, transport secretary Philip Hammond said that people in the UK would need to learn to live with chaos caused by volcanic activity in Iceland.

In an effort to have flight restrictions lifted, Ryanair bosses are planning to hold discussions with Irish officials.

Responding to warnings, British Airways announced it would not operate any flights between London and Scotland before 2pm.

Only last year, the airline's then chief executive Willie Walsh criticised airport closures and said blanket bans imposed on flying were "a gross over-reaction to a very minor risk".

Dutch airline KLM said 16 flights scheduled to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Newcastle would be cancelled, while Eastern Airways, based in Kirmington, north Lincolnshire, axed all flights and easyJet grounded some planes.

Glasgow-based carrier Loganair - which operates most of its services within Scotland - said it had scrapped 36 flights due to depart between 6am and 1pm. This excluded its inter-isles flights in Orkney. Some of its flights to Birmingham and Belfast were also cancelled.

Aer Lingus said it had cancelled 12 flights to and from Glasgow, Dublin, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Shannon and Cork.

But Ryanair said it objected to advice from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) not to operate flights to and from Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh or Aberdeen until at least 1pm.

© Press Association 2011