Flights continue to face disruption from Iceland volcano ash

by Emily DUNBAR on May 10, 2010

Just two weeks after the Iceland volcano ash began to clear from European airspace, airports are once again having to cancel flights.

Continued eruption of the volcano has caused a large ash plume to stretch into northern Europe as Greenland and Portugal saw flights cancelled over the weekend. Although closures over the weekend have been small compared to cancellations from two weeks ago, airlines are still reeling from loss revenues from ongoing disruptions.

According to the Irish Aviation Authority, the biggest portion of the plume had drifted over the Atlantic causing five of the country’s westernmost airports to be shutdown. Major airports in Dublin, Cork, and Shannon were allowed to stay open.

At present, airlines are diverting trans-Atlantic traffic north and south to avoid the cloud. However, the lack of space is causing congestion as routes through the cloud are closed. Some connections had to be cancelled completely to make room for the increased traffic.

United Airlines was forced to cancel four flights from Zurich, Rome, and Geneva headed for Washington and Chicago. According to spokeswoman for the airline, Megan McCarthy, all other flights remained scheduled but with an average of a two-hour delay.

European carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air France had no cancellations for trans-Atlantic flights, but did report delays. Budget airline, easyJet cancelled all connections to Geneva using Twitter to update scheduled passengers on the airport’s status. Meteorologists said rain showers on Monday would clear-up the air, and no further ash clouds should reach the continent.

{ 1 comment }

oz May 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Seriously; this is a relatively small eruption that is occuring; compared to otherf major geological events that have been documented. To think that flights are being cancelled is a bit dramatic over a relatively small ash cloud. Unless flying visability is seriously reduced or this cloud is carrying debris harmful to aircraft at altitude then I see no reason for this level of drama. I can think of two alternatives as apposed to grounding flights. The first one is to lay on alternative routes; or divert Bitish flights to france; and provide a rail-air link. The second is to physically fly the planes at lower altitude where appropriate as to avoid “passing through the cloud layers” and risking damage by ingression of debris into the aircraft engine intakes. Now Iceland is known for volcanic activity, and when eruptions here do occur, they have been known to continue for up to a year and sometimes longer. Hope these transport managers have thought of their contingency plan just in case this mountain of mayhem doesnt stop blowing its top…..Having said this; Im going to be a killjoy here; and say to these intelligent managers; “what the hell are you going to do if that volcano under Yellowstone in the United States; suddenly decides to explode”? “Just to let you know; if that does explode, there will be all sorts of fun to sort out; and with all due respect, this Icelandic issue is nothing compared to what other things are in the pipeline over the next couple of decades or so…….Better be getting those asbestos pants on guys, because things are going to get a little hot under the collar… Seriously transport managers; if I were you; get NASA to probe a couple of satellites at the cloud; get the Icelandic scientists to probe the area and send a few high altitude weather balloons up to get some readings. Do your research before forming the assumption and pre-judgements of halting transportation routes because of a cloud that may mount to nothing more than a cupfull of ash and some acidic rain and hot air….. If you ask me; its really just a load of hot air. Like when Britain gets a snowflake and the country grinds to a sudden standstill. . over a snowflake or ten….Any excuse; but its these excuses that end up costing more money…..

Please; as a scientist, and a geologist, listen to me; when I say that you should do your research more into this, before either failing to act, or acting improperly; then you should. As said, asking a few agencies for advice and assistance is nothing to be ashamed of. In the long run, you will save money, build up a better picture of whats going on, and maybe even forecast something that could be of far more significance.. Lastly, get some seizmology readings; is there any unusual readings that may indicate further hints of eruptions, a worsening of this, the possibility of additional geological events such as eathquakes, or could things be easing up? GET TO IT GUYS! ITS RESEARCH TIME, GET YOUR READINGS AND REPORT BACK TO ME WITHIN THREE DAYS AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU FIND. . I WILL THEN FURTHER ADVISE YOU ON WHAT PROTOCOLS YOU WILL NEED TO ADHERE TO.

good luck and best wishes;

Oz

P.S.

You already have done the best thing by reading this ; trust me as a world leading scientist.

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