Nightly News   |  April 17, 2010

Ash cloud forces expansion of no-fly zone

As most European airports remained closed Saturday, ferries, rental cars and rail services did record business for a third day, with Eurostar service between London, Paris and Brussels carrying up to 50,000 passengers per day.

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>> sharing the amazing images tonight . now to where all this leaves international air travelers, the short answer, mostly on the ground. we have reports from both sides of the atlantic . nbc 's tom aspell is outside london 's heathrow airport now with the latest on the expanding no-fly zone. tom, good evening .

>> reporter: good evening , lester . well, europe 's air travel chaos has widened, three out of every four flights have been canceled, and airlines here in london say they won't fly before monday at the earliest. at every airport in northern and central europe today, the message was the same, flights are canceled, no flights going anywhere. the volcanic ash cloud now stretches from the british isles east all the way to bulgaria and from scandinavia to the south of france . the aviation agency euro control says it gives air travelers stark choices.

>> the countries that are currently free and where aircraft can take off and land is portugal, spain, southern italy , bulgaria and the countries south thereof.

>> reporter: london 's heathrow is totally shut down. frankfurt's runways are empty. in brussels, nothing's moved in 48 hours . in paris , charles de gaulle airport has come to a grinding halt . in rome , passengers like vincenzo and his wife from illinois were looking for alternative transport.

>> we're going to get to paris one way or another, even if i have to push on her cart.

>> reporter: railways are doing record business. euro's star services running between london , paris and brussels are carrying 50,000 passengers a day. and ferries to and from england are packed.

>> we're talking about 6,000 foot passengers in one day, when we would be taking a few hundred on our services.

>> reporter: airports all over the world are affect by europe 's shutdown. in australia, quantitious has canceled all european flights. in india , passengers are sleeping rough, waiting for flights to resume.

>> air companies are giving us no refunds and nothing or anything.

>> reporter: tokyo and beijing are telling passengers to europe the same thing, no flights until further notice. how long will this go on? it depends on the ash cloud from the volcano in iceland and it depends on the wind. tom aspell, nbc news, london .

>> reporter: this is ron allen