Top Shows

Contact ONE News

Ash cloud could remain over NZ until Saturday

Published: 5:31AM Wednesday June 29, 2011 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

Jetstar and Qantas have grounded flights in and out of Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown tomorrow as a volcanic ash cloud causes further disruption.

Qantas will not be flying to and from Christchurch until 11pm tomorrow, and to and from Wellington until 2pm tomorrow. Its Queenstown services are suspended until further notice.

Jetstar said tonight its flights from the centres are suspended until midday tomorrow.

The ash cloud moved south last night creating a flight ceiling of around 20,000 feet, causing more cancellations today.

Peter Lechner from the Civil Aviation Authority said the ash cloud from the Chilean volcano is moving up the South Island.

"It'll cover most of the South Island later today and probably the southern part of the North Island tomorrow," he said.

"We expect the cloud as such to probably move off the area late Friday maybe Saturday morning," Lechner said.

But the cloud is not expected to reach as far as Palmerston North before it finally moves offshore.

Today's flight cancellations follow an announcement from MetService advising that volcanic ash was expected in parts of the lower South Island at altitudes above 20,000 feet.

Jetstar said all other trans-Tasman and international services are operating as normal.

It said it is monitoring the ash cloud in conjunction with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

Air New Zealand is once again continuing to operate all domestic and international flights according to schedule.

Thousands of travellers have been left stranded at airports across New Zealand in recent weeks because of the volcanic eruption in Chile.

This is the third time the ash cloud has caused cancellations from Qantas and Jetstar.

Jetstar refutes cost cutting claim

Jetstar has once again refuted claims made in the media that its decision to suspend flying due to the Chilean volcanic ash cloud was related to "cost cutting measures".

The carrier has confirmed it will face costs in excess of $13million as a result of its "safety before schedule" approach and the grounding of flights.

Jetstar has cancelled more than 460 New Zealand flights during the ash cloud crisis.

Jetstar Group Chief Executive Officer Bruce Buchanan said the suggestion made that grounding hundreds of flights over a two week period to improve financial performance is "out-of-touch with the tough reality of running an airline".

Follow TVNZ News on Twitter