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Iceland volcano: Ash cuts President Obama's trip short

May 23, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Times Travel & Deal Blogger
  • President Obama and Irish President Mary McAleese depart ras an Uachtarin, her official residence, ahead of Dr. Martin McAleese, the president's husband.
President Obama and Irish President Mary McAleese depart ras an Uachtarin,… (Irish Government / Getty…)

 The volcanic ash cloud blowing from Iceland toward Europe has forced President Obama to leave Ireland early and some smaller airlines to cancel flights.

 Obama arrived in Ireland today but now plans to leave Monday night rather than Tuesday because of concerns about the looming ash cloud from Grimsvotn volcano that could interfere with his flight to London.

News organizations report a White House statement saying: "Due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash, Air Force One will depart Ireland for London tonight. The schedule for tomorrow will proceed as planned."

This is the second time ash has caused disruption in Obama's travel plans. In April 2010, during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, the president was forced to cancel travel plans to Europe to attend the funeral of Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, who died in a plane crash on April 10. That eruption disrupted thousands of flights across Europe, one of the largest air shutdowns in history.

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