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Europe air traffic to resume soon

NEWS
Europe air traffic to resume soon

Monday, 19 April 2010

Earth

••• European air traffic is expected to return to normal on Thursday, after a week of cancellations and disruption due to the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano.

‘If things continue to look like now and the volcano will not spread ashes to Europe we’re probably back to normal operations by Thursday,’ said Bo Redeborn, director of Eurocontrol, which coordinates air traffic control across Europe.

‘If 30 percent of flights were operated today, maybe we can expect another 10 to 15 per cent to come back during tomorrow, and maybe another 10-15 percent the day after,’ he said on Monday after E.U. transport ministers agreed to ease air space restrictions which have hit airlines and their passengers since Thursday last week.
Redeborn said there would still be a no-fly zone, where the volcanic cloud is deemed to be at dangerous concentrations for jet engines.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre will issue maps every six hours showing where the no-fly zones are, as the ash cloud moves around.

If a high concentration is found above an airport, then it must be closed and no air traffic allowed through the area, the Eurocontrol official said.

Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, is made up of 38 nations across the continent.

Eruptions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano are weaker than they were at the weekend but eruptions still take ash over 10,000ft at times. Weather patterns continue to blow areas of ash towards the U.K.

The Met Office is the North-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for volcanoes erupting in this area. This means the Met Office’s priority and role is to support NATS, CAA and other aviation authority’s decision-making.

It is for the aviation industry and regulator to set thresholds for safe ash ingestion. Currently, world-wide advice from ICAO is based on engine and airframe manufacturers stating that aircraft should not be exposed to any volcanic ash.

Met Office and NERC observations are consistent with Met Office model forecasts for spread of ash over U.K. and north-west Europe and NATS are continuing to advise restrictions on U.K. airspace until Tuesday morning.

As the volcanic activity changes, there may be some clearance of ash at times, over parts of the U.K. We will be looking to provide timely advice about when these opportunities might happen.

The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of any flights. However, many airlines are providing information on their websites.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office U.K. & ITN
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