About 250 flights to northern Britain have now been canceled as a result of the ash cloud spewing from the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland. US President Barack Obama was forced to cut his visit to Ireland short Monday evening, departing for London ahead of schedule to avoid any travel woes.
Despite the rising concern and increase in canceled flights, aviation officials say they do not expect a mass shutdown of airspace like the one caused last year by a similar Icelandic ash cloud.
"There won't be any shutdowns," British Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said in an interview with BBC radio. "We've moved on to a different way of working, we won't be closing airspace."
The fallout from last year’s eruption left nearly 10 million passengers stranded and cost the airline industry nearly $2 billion in revenue. Weather officials warned that the new plume could reach French and Spanish airspace as early as Thursday if the volcano continues spewing ash at its current rate.