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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Airlines Facing Chaos As Ash Cloud Moves In

There will be widespread disruption to flights to and from Scotland today as ash from an Icelandic volcano reaches Britain.

Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control agency, said a total of 252 flights - mostly affecting Scottish airports - have been cancelled to date.
British Airways have suspended all flights between London and Scotland until at least 2pm.
Budget airlines have also made cancellations - Easyjet have suspended services going in and out of Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Flybe have cancelled 11 flights to and from Aberdeen and Inverness.
Predicted ash concentrations at 1800 Tues (Met Office)
Met Office prediction of ash concentration by 6pm today
Meanwhile RyanAir have expressed its anger at having to cancel all services to and from Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen until 1pm today.
What may rile the airline a little more is that while BMI have made cancellations to their route to Aberdeen, they are still flying to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Elsewhere, KLM and Eastern Airways have made cancellations to and from some airports in Scotland and Newcastle.
Aer Lingus has also cancelled 12 flights on various routes in and out of Scotland.
An arrivals board at Glasgow Airport
Arrivals board at Glasgow Airport shows a number of flight cancellations
Logan Air have also stopped flights until at least 1pm, although trips to and from Orkney are still operating.
Passengers have been advised to check with their airlines before travelling to airports.
The drifting ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano forcedUS President Barack Obama to alter his travel plans, arriving in London early for his state visit.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said Britons "have got to learn" to live with chaos caused by volcanic activity in Iceland.
"My understanding is that we have gone through an unusually quiet period for volcanic eruptions in Iceland over the last 20-odd years and we are moving into a period when there is likely to be significantly more volcanic activity."
But he insisted there were now "much more robust systems" to "minimise the disruptive effect".
Last April hundreds of thousands of flights were cancelled and millions of people were either left stranded or forced to cancel their travel plans altogether when the Eyjafjallajokul volcanic erupted.

In addition, scientists in Norway have developed equipment that enables pilots to be able to 'see' ash particles up to 100km away and avoid them.
Mr Hammond said the authorities have since gained a "much better understanding" of the risk from ash clouds and are better able to assess the thickness of different patches as well as the possibility of flying over or below a cloud.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) all British aircraft can fly in medium density ash.
However, Met Office charts show that the levels are higher than this below 35,000ft, meaning planes could have to navigate around the plume.
A CAA spokesman said the cloud, as it is now, could "potentially" cause serious disruption.
Met Office ash cloud prediction for 0000 Tues
Met Office prediction shows lower level of the cloud (in red) at midnight on Tuesday
But he said: "We are in a totally different world as far as procedures go now compared with last year.
"If we have the same level of ash as we did last year, there will not be the same problem.
"Airspace will not be closed and we will notify airlines when the Met Office predicts there are medium or high levels of ash present."


  1. Damn those ash clouds again :P

  2. haha I like it how the nature still is the boss of the earth. We humans can handle a lot but are still dependant from nature. The volcano farts and no planes can fly :)

  3. Haha dam, just finished reading something about a ufo closing an airport now this. Not a good day for the airlines


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