UPDATE 1-US carriers cancel Europe flights due to ash

*US carriers cancel international flights

*Delta halts 65 flights through Friday morn

*Several European countries close air space
(Recasts, Updates with new figures, Delta Air, US/London, ash
effects)

ATLANTA, April 15 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. airlines canceled half
their trans-Atlantic service on Thursday because of a gigantic
ash cloud spewing from a volcano in Iceland that has closed
airports in northern Europe, industry officials said.

A comparable number of flights, and possibly more, will
likely be canceled on Friday, the Air Transport Association
trade association said.

David Castelveter, an ATA spokesman, said U.S. carriers
canceled about 165 flights of more than 300 operated each day.
Most go to Britain.

While routes were disrupted, the main problem from the
eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier was the impact on
airports in northern Europe. Many of them were closed or
planned to do so with the cloud intensifying and continuing an
eastward path.

The ash cloud forced the grounding of flights to and from
Britain. London, a hub for business travel and an expanding
market for U.S. airlines trying to shake a two-year downturn,
is the most popular trans-Atlantic destination from New York,
Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and Boston, according to the
International Air Transport Association trade group.

The impact on carrier finances was not immediately clear.

“The real question becomes how long will the volcanic ash
persist,” said Morningstar analyst Basili Alukos.

U.S. airlines are due to start reporting first-quarter
results next week.

Earnings are expected to reflect the effects of winter
storms that caused significant flight cancellations earlier
this year. Airlines around the world have also experienced
declines in revenue because of the recession.

Disruptions resulting from the ash cloud could last another
two days, the European air safety organization said.

Ash lowers visibility but abrasive particles also damage
windshields, wings, and other aircraft surfaces. It can
interfere with hydraulic and electronic systems, clog
ventilation and damage the moving components inside engines.

Radar cannot detect ash, creating another hazard for
pilots, and damaging effects can be present up to 72 hours
after an eruption.

Bill McGuire, a professor at the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard
Research Center in London said if the volcano continued
erupting for more than 12 months, as it did the last time,
periodic disruptions to air traffic could continue.
[ID:nLDE63E0QP]

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N: ) spokesman Anthony Black said in
an email that the world’s biggest carrier canceled 65 flights
through Friday morning from the United States to cities
including Amsterdam, Brussels and even Mumbai due to the
volcanic ash cloud.

United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp (UAUA.O: ), said it had
halted 30 arrivals into Europe and 32 departures from Europe.

Continental Airlines (CAL.N: ) reported 32 cancellations and
AMR Corp’s (AMR.N: ) American said it had canceled 34 flights.

The volcano began erupting on Wednesday for the second time
in a month, hurling a plume of ash up to 3.8 to 7 miles (6 to
11 kilometers).

Stock Market Money

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta, Kyle Peterson in
Chicago, Deepa Seetharaman in New York, and John Crawley in
Washington; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Steve Orlofsky)

UPDATE 1-US carriers cancel Europe flights due to ash