PSU's Ireland plans still on despite erupting volcano
Penn State continued with plans to depart for Ireland early next week even as an Icelandic volcano that could threaten European air travel began erupting Saturday.
Iceland raised its aviation alert to the highest level on its five-point scale and closed 14,000 nautical miles of airspace over the Bardarbunga volcano, which despite erupting hadn't penetrated the glacier it sits below.
The Nittany Lions are scheduled to open the football season Aug. 30 against Central Florida at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin.
Penn State issued a statement that said, “At this time, we are continuing our preparations for the game and for the team to depart Tuesday evening for Dublin.”
Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson said in a text message that there were “no schedule adjustments” and the university is “continuing to monitor and (be) in communication with UCF, the (Gaelic Athletic Association, which is hosting the game) and United Airlines, our charter provider.”
UCF spokesman Brian Ormiston said in an email that a plane carrying the Golden Knights' equipment flew to Ireland on Saturday. He also said, “Both schools and the GAA are continuously monitoring the situation.”
More than 100,000 European flights were cancelled in 2010 as the result of an ash cloud Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano produced.
Dublin is about 900 miles southeast of Bardarbunga.
Penn State's travel party — expected to number about 310, including 118 players — is scheduled to arrive in Dublin on Wednesday morning and depart Saturday after the game.