3 Jun 2010

Volcanic ash halts Air Caledonie flights to Loyalty Islands

5:38 pm on 3 June 2010

Volcanic ash from Vanuatu has prompted New Caledonia's domestic airline to cancel today's flights to the Loyalty lslands.

The decision affects five flights to Lifou and Ouvea after more ash was being blown across from Vanuatu's Mt Yasur volcano.

A wind from east northeast is posing fresh risks to aviation and the General Manager of Air Caledonie, William Ihage, says about 200 people will have their travel plans disrupted.

"We have cancelled flights for Lifou and Ouvea because we have some information now from the centre in Wellington about the volcan ash. We don't want to take the risk."

The volcano has been increasingly active for the past week, sending an ash 1,800 metres high and covering about 340 square kilometres.

The eruption already prompted several flight cancellations in New Caledonia on Sunday on Monday.