UPDATE 2-Ash disrupts German airspace, Italy reopens

* Italy, several Spanish airports reopen

* Traffic in southern Germany, Austria, Scotland disrupted

* Portugal closes airport in Porto

* European flights on Sunday seen 500 below average

(Recasts, adds latest Eurocontrol figure)

FRANKFURT/MILAN, May 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Volcanic ash disrupted
flights in southern Germany, Austria and parts of Spain and
Portugal on Sunday but Italy reopened its airspace.

Southern German airports in Munich, Stuttgart and some
regional airstrips were closed at 1300 GMT until further notice,
German air traffic control body DFS said.

Austrian aviation agency Austro Control said it would shut
down the nation’s airports, most of them until early Monday
morning, while its British equivalent NATS said airfields in the
Scottish islands also closed on Sunday.

The spread of ash from an erupting volcano under the
Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland grounded much of European
air traffic for nearly a week in mid-April. Airlines had to
cancel around 100,000 flights, stranding millions of passengers.

Some 24,000 flights were expected to take place in European
airspace on Sunday, about 1,000 (4 percent) below average for
this time of year, an official at air traffic agency Eurocontrol
said in Brussels.

Transatlantic flights remain affected and are required to
undergo significant rerouting, leading to some delays, the
agency said earlier in a statement. “However, significant
numbers of cancellations have not occurred.”

The number of flights in Europe on Saturday totalled 22,424,
about 200 below normal levels, Eurocontrol said.

Italian airports reopened from 1200 GMT on Sunday, following
closure of a large part of the airspace in the north of the
country in the morning, the civil aviation authority ENAC said.

Airports in the eastern part of northern Italy and in
Venice, Trieste and Rimini had remained open, ENAC said.

Several northern Spanish airports, including Barcelona,
reopened on Sunday after being shut on Saturday. But the Spanish
civil aviation authority said a change in the direction of the
ash cloud had forced them to close seven airports as 1400 GMT:
Asturias, Santander, Bilbao, Salamanca, Valladolid, Leon and
Burgos. All other airports were open.

Ireland expects to impose restrictions to traffic at western
airports later on Sunday as ash from the Icelandic volcano
drifts back over the country. [ID:nLDE64803H]

In Portugal, the airport in the country’s second city,
Porto, was shut until midday (1000 GMT), while the French
aviation authority said some 30 flights from Paris to southern
Europe were cancelled, although French skies were open.

Volcanic ash is abrasive and can strip off aerodynamic
surfaces and paralyse an aircraft engine. Aircraft electronics
and windshields can also be damaged.

An industry body, the International Air Transport
Association (IATA), said airlines have lost more than $1.7
billion of revenue due to the volcano crisis, which will be
reflected in earnings for the quarter through June.

German flag carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: ) said it had lost
nearly 200 million euros ($268.3 million) in total.

Stock Market

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Maria Sheahan, Joern Poltz in
Frankfurt, Rosalba O’Brien in London Massimiliano di Giorgio in
Rome, Stephen Jewkes in Milan, Nigel Davies in Madrid, Dale
Hudson in Brussels; editing by Mark Trevelyan)

UPDATE 2-Ash disrupts German airspace, Italy reopens