Update: Ash Cloud Brings Renewed Travel Misery to Australia

June 21, 2011

Sydney Harbour
Update, 7:30 a.m. EDT, June 24: With the ash cloud predicted to linger over New Zealand's airspace, Australia's major airlines are continuing to suspend flights to and from New Zealand. Air New Zealand has been flying, and has no plans to change their policy.
(6:30 a.m. EDT) -- Travellers in Australia are facing renewed chaos today as the ash cloud from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano returns with a vengeance.
Flights were disrupted by ash last week, although some airlines kept flying. This time, as the ash circumnavigates the earth for the second time, the particles are lower in the atmosphere, according to reports on the BBC web site, causing the grounding of hundreds of flights.
Both Qantas and Virgin have cancelled all flights in and out of Sydney and Melbourne, and some from Canberra, while Adelaide airport is closed. Some international flights bound for Sydney have diverted to Brisbane.
The situation is expected to be changeable for the next few days as the cloud moves, but travellers should expect widespread cancellations, particularly of domestic flights. Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have information on their web sites.
Cruises are only affected to the extent that Australians travelling overseas to join ships may be stranded; there are no ships due into any of the affected ports this week.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor