Aviation News

April 15, 2010

Volcanic Ash Forces Unprecedented Airspace Shutdown in Europe

More articles by »
Written by: admin
Tags: , , ,
Eyjafjallajokull erupts in Iceland.
Photo by

(Photo by Ingolfur Juliusson/Reuters)

Much of Northern Europe’s airspace is closed until further notice due to a massive cloud of dangerous ash spreading southeastward from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland.

The UK has grounded all flights in its airspace as of 12 noon local time (7am ET), the first time this has occurred since September 11th, 2001. Eurocontrol and local authorities in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands have already closed or plan to close all or portions of their skies today. As the cloud expands and moves south and east, flights in France, Russia and other nations may be halted later today.

British authorities have suggested flights might be allowed by 1800L this evening, but this is subject to change. British Airways has canceled all UK flights until tomorrow. Heathrow says it will be closed “until further notice.”

Volcanic ash, composed of tiny rock and glass particles, can wreak havoc on an aircraft engine. In 1982, British Airways Flight 9, a 747-200 (G-BDXH) inadvertently flew through an ash cloud over the Indian Ocean, causing the failure of all four engines. During a harrowing emergency descent to Jakarta, the crew managed to get three of the engines spinning again, but not before many passengers had written farewell letters to their families. A nearly identical incident occurred aboard KLM Flight 867 in 1989, a brand new 747-400, when it flew through a cloud produced by Alaska’s Mount Redoubt.

Eyjafjallajokull first erupted in late March, doing little damage creating an exciting show for Icelandic residents and spurring a boom in “volcano tourism.” A secondary eruption yesterday, however, occurred beneath a glacier, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of farmers threatened by flooding. Subglacial eruptions are known for their extensive ash output.

This volcano’s previous major eruption, in 1821, lasted two years. An extended disruption of air travel in Europe would likely do significant damage to the local and world economies.

UPDATE [2:00PM ET]: Latest forecast from UK Met Office shows no improvement through 1200Z on Friday.

+++ Click to enlarge



About the Author

admin





 
 

 
A Flybe Bombardier Dash-8-400 (G-JECL) takes off from Manchester Airport, England. (Photo by Arpingstone via wikimedia)

Flybe To Cut 300 Jobs In Europe

Low-cost airline Flybe said on Wednesday that it intended to cut 300 jobs to slash costs.
by AFP
0

 
 
There is a Virgin Atlantic aircraft somewhere in this photo. (Photo by Simon Allardice via Flickr, CC-BY)

Europe Airports Crippled By Snow For Second Straight Day

Hundreds of flights were cancelled across much of Europe on Monday as heavy snow and freezing weather gripped the continent.
by AFP
1

 

 

European Union Calls for Increased Tech Collaboration for Single European Sky

The EU has called for increased collaboration on technology in order to fulfill the benefits of developing a so-called Single European Sky air traffic control system.
by BNO News
0

 
 

Reallocation of European Airport Slots Could Yield $7 Billion Economic Boost

More than $7.14 billion in economic benefits could be gained by 2025 by reviewing European rules on allocating slots for landing and takeoff at the European Union's busiest airports, according to a new study.
by BNO News
0

 
 

All European Airspace Reopened as Volcanic Ash Cloud Subsides

The European travel chaos as a result of volcanic ash from a volcano in Iceland came to an end on Thursday as all affected airspace was re-opened.
by BNO News
1

 




  • […] Volcanic Ash Forces Unprecedented Airspace Shutdown in Europe | NYCAviation […]