April 15, 2010 / 6:44 PM / 10 years ago

Ash forces France to shut northern air space

PARIS (Reuters) - Aviation authorities said they would close 24 airports across northern France before the end of Thursday, including in Paris, because of the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano.

Paris’s Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports would both be shut by 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) at the latest, France’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) said in a statement.

It did not say when the airports might reopen, but Air France said in a statement that it was cancelling all its Paris flights on Friday morning and urged passengers due to travel then not to show up at either Roissy or Orly.

“Regarding the rest of April 16, measures will be taken depending on the situation. However, we expect traffic to be very disrupted,” Air France said in a statement.

The airline added that it was bringing forward the departure of long-haul flights on Thursday night to avoid the shutdown and said it had booked 1,400 hotel rooms for passengers already in transit in Paris whose flights had been canceled.

The ash from the Icelandic volcano has forced authorities to close air space, affecting thousands of flights, in a wide arc from Ireland to Scandinavia.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by Ralph Boulton

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