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Airlines on Iceland volcano alert

Friday, August 22, 2014 - 01:35

Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days.

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It might look serene, but something's bubbling under the surface in Iceland. Intense seismic activity at the Bardarbunga volcano led authorities to evacuate part of the northern part of the country. There have been some 2,000 earthquakes in the area in just the last 48 hours. Now emergency workers are preparing for an eruption, says Iceland's Chief of Police. SOUNDBITE: Iceland Chief of Police, Haraldur Johannessen, saying (Icelandic): "We're here to talk to the local police chief and his officers and to the response teams to look at the situation to see if there's anything we can do to help. I think that we are well-prepared in case of an eruption." It's also a case of deja vu. The eruption of different Icelandic volcano in 2010 caused massive disruption. Flights were grounded for six days after an ash cloud swept over much of Europe, affecting more than 10 million air travelers. That cost 1.7 billion dollars and impacted airlines' profits. Their shares have taken a knock with the latest fears. EasyJet shares fell by as much as 1.6 percent, while International Airlines Group - parent of British Airways and Iberia - also slid. For now, it's just Iceland that's affected. Tourists changing their itinerary. SOUNDBITE: French Tourist, Stefan Alfandairi, saying (English): "Well actually we were supposed to try to travel to Askja, the crater, today, but since we heard that two days ago we changed our plans." There are also fears the volcano could cause flooding in one of Iceland's National Parks. But if there is an eruption, eyes will be on what's in the air, as well as what's on the ground.

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Airlines on Iceland volcano alert

Friday, August 22, 2014 - 01:35