15 June 2011:
Volcanic ash emitted by Puyehue volcano in southern Chile on Saturday 4 June 2011 began to enter Perth airspace from about 1pm today (15 June 2011). Due to the unpredictability of the ash cloud’s movements, airlines cancelled flights from Perth this afternoon – a significant number of domestic and international flights being affected for at least the following 24 hours.
A significant backlog of passengers will need to be moved after flights resume.
The ash cloud will circumnavigate the globe a number of times, heading from west to east. Previously, the ash passed to the south of Perth and didn’t affect flights. However, it did cause Qantas flight QF63 from Sydney to Johannesburg services to take a longer route than usual, so the aircraft had to make a fuel stop in Perth.
Experts say that flights should not be affected the next time the cloud comes around.
Other cities in southern Australia have also experienced flight cancellations and delays as a result of the cloud.