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Chilean volcano disrupts New Zealand and Australian flights

Australian and New Zealand flights are the latest to be grounded as volcanic eruptions continue to disrupt air travel.

Two women rest as a man wipes the floor at Jorge newbery Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Two women rest as a man wipes the floor at Jorge newbery Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Image: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

FLIGHTS IN Australia and New Zealand have been grounded as a result of the ash cloud billowing from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area surrounding the volcano in southern Chile.

Yesterday, airports in Argentina and Uruguay were forced to close as a result of the volcanic ash cloud and flights in Chile and Brazil have also been affected.

Qantas says about 8,000 passengers will be affected by its cancellations in and out of Melbourne in Australia. Virgin Australia has grounded 34 domestic Australian flights and one international one which was due to leave Melbourne this evening.

New Zealand’s national carrier Air New Zealand said it has not cancelled any flights but has altered flight plans and plane altitudes to avoid the ash, the New Zealand Herald reports.

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority said that flights are likely to be affected by the ash cloud throughout next week.

The southern hemispher’s winter season opens on 21 June and some resort operators are concerned that the volcano will seriously affect their business this year.

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Cars for rental are seen covered by volcanic ash and sand at the airport in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Ohoto Patagonia)

- Additional reporting by the AP

Gallery: Streets covered in ash as volcanoes continue to ‘belch’ in Chile >

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