UK ready as volcanic ash heads for British skies

By STAFF | May 23, 2011 | 5:14 AM EDT

People wait with their luggage at Keflavik airport, Keflavik, Iceland Sunday May 22, 2011 as Iceland closed its main international airport and canceled domestic flights as a powerful volcanic eruption sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the air. The eruption was far larger than one a year ago that caused international travel chaos _ but scientists said it was unlikely to have the same widespread effect. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)

LONDON (AP) — An ash cloud from Iceland could reach British airspace later this week, but a British official says the country is better prepared after an eruption last year shut down airports for five days.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday that Britain has more information on how ash clouds move and is less likely to have to enforce a blanket flight ban.

Iceland shut its main airport Sunday after the Grimsvotn (GREEMSH-votn) volcano about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Reykjavik erupted. London's Met Office says the ash may reach British airspace later this week.

European flights were grounded last year after the Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH-lah-yer-kuhl) volcano erupted, leaving 10 million travelers stranded around the world.