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15/04/2010 Ash cloud brings further problems for Cardiff Airport
BBC News

A volcanic ash cloud emanating from Iceland will keep Cardiff airport closed until at least 1300 BST on Friday, authorities have said.

The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) said all flights in and out of the UK would continue to be grounded.

However, ferry firms operating in Wales said they were benefiting from disruption to flights out of Cardiff.

Both Stena and Fastnet Line have reported a significant increase in bookings for ferries to Ireland.

A Stena spokesman said there had been a "significant" rise in ferry passengers because of the airline problem, while Irish Ferries said inquiries for reservations had quadrupled compared to the usual volume of calls.

"We are filling ships which is what we wouldn't normally do this time of year," said Stena spokesman Eamonn Hewitt.

"There is a lot of demand from foot passengers, they are just showing up at the ports".

Phil Jones, chief executive of the Swansea-Cork ferry operator Fastnet Line, said there had been an "uplift" in bookings.

"The cloud of volcanic ash continues to cover much of the UK," said a Nats spokesman.

"Following a review of the latest Met Office information, Nats advises that restrictions will remain in place in UK-controlled airspace until 1pm tomorrow at the earliest."

Earlier, a flight returning the body of a Swansea soldier killed in Afghanistan landed early to avoid being grounded.

Fusilier Jonathan Burgess, 20, of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, was killed in Helmand province last week.

The plane landed four hours early at 0900 BST at RAF Lyneham.