Volcanic eruption and cloud in Iceland
Volcanic eruption and cloud in Iceland Israel news photo: NASA

The volcanic ash that threw international travel into an upheaval last month is expected to reach Israel Monday night, where at least two flights have been delayed. A flight from Barcelona is due to land late Monday night after a 20-hour delay, and a plane from Barcelona also was delayed.

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) met in emergency session Monday afternoon and announced that it will not close the country's airspace, relaxing travelers who heard Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz say earlier in the day that Israel would shut down the airport if forced to do so.

Hundreds of flights in Europe were cancelled this past weekend as ash from the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland began drifting from the Atlantic Ocean back towards Europe. Winds are expected to push the cloud back eastwards later in the day.

Munich and Stuggart airports grounded flights at their airports, and airports in northern Italy, central and northern Portugal and several Austrian airports shut down.

“Beyond the potential for a major accident linked to engine failures, volcanic ash can be a considerable threat for other reasons,” according to the  Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)

It added, “Ash is very hard and extremely abrasive and therefore erodes airframe, flight surfaces, and jet engine parts. The abrasion of the cockpit windows can lead to reduction or loss of pilots' forward visibility.”