Chilean Volcano Threatens Flights, Soccer Tournament

The main international airports in Argentina and Uruguay were closed on Tuesday, and across the Pacific more Australian flights were canceled because of ash from Chile's Cordon Caulle volcano.

The cloud of ash spewing from Chile's erupting volcano has grounded more flights in countries from Uruguay to Australia and is threatening to delay next month's start of the Copa America football tournament in Argentina.

Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona says the July 1 start of the Copa America could be pushed back due to cancelations of flights caused by the volcano.

Grondona tells the Argentine broadcaster Radio 10 that "from no point of view are all the countries prepared to come to Buenos Aires" in time.

Meanwhile, the ash cloud has forced more cancelled Australian flights Tuesday because of ash from a Chilean volcano, this time out of a midsize southern airport, as airlines scrambled to fly out thousands of passengers who had been stranded for two days in Melbourne.

National carrier Qantas and budget airline Jetstar said they planned to add capacity to and from Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, and hoped to get all passengers in the air by the end of the day.

More than 70,000 passengers had been stranded in Australia but it was unclear how many still were as flights resumed in Melbourne.

Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger said late Tuesday that all their mainland Australian routes would be open Wednesday morning, including to and from Adelaide. But flights to the island state of Tasmania and New Zealand would remain grounded Wednesday morning, as they have since Sunday.

Ash has moved across the Pacific from Chile where a volcano has been erupting since June 4. Particles in the ash can damage jet engines, and flights in Chile and other South American countries have been grounded at times as well.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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