SCORES of holiday makers bound for the Balearics were stranded at airports in Ireland and Scotland yesterday as the volcanic ash cloud continues to disrupt flights in the UK.

The latest disruption signalled that travel hold-ups would continue into the summer holiday period because of ash being blown from the same volcano in Iceland that caused mayhem for 10 million travellers last month.

The European air traffic agency Eurocontrol said about 300 of 29'000 scheduled flights were likely to be cancelled across Europe yesterday. “The situation is not expected to improve in this area during the day,” the agency said in a statement. “The whole of Ireland, west Scotland and northwest England could be affected, with risk to operations at Manchester and Liverpool airports,” it continued.

Britain's official weather forecaster, the Met Office, said predictions indicated the ash would remain over much of Ireland, Scotland and western England into today and would continue to move south. British Airways said it was cancelling all flights to and from the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh until 6pm. Ryanair also cancelled flights to and from Glasgow Prestwick and the Northern Irish cities of Belfast and Derry until 11pm.

It also warned that services at the English airports of Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester could be affected. Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said, based on current forecasts, it did not expect problems in the southeast, where the major airports serving London are located. However, if in doubt, contact your airline before heading to the airport.