Posts Tagged ‘E.U.


U.K. and Ireland shut some airspace due to ash cloud

U.K. and Ireland shut some airspace due to ash cloud

Sunday, May 16, 2010


••• Several British and Irish airports have closed as the ash cloud returned, drifting south and east following fresh eruptions from the Icelandic volcano.

Manchester Airport in northwest England and Dublin Airport, among the 20 busiest in Europe, were among those affected by the cloud on Sunday, with the ash levels deemed too dangerous to fly through.

Manchester – Britain’s busiest airport outside London, where airports were so far unaffected – was among a host of northern British airports to shut from 08:00 am EDT to 02:00 pm EDT (12:00 pm GMT to 06:00 pm GMT), including all those in Northern Ireland.

Dublin, Ireland’s main airport, was to close from 02:00 pm EDT until at least 04:00 am EDT (06:00 pm GMT until at least 08:00 am GMT) on Monday.

Europe’s skies were closed for up to a week last month following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, in the biggest shutdown of the continent’s airspace since World War II.
The volcanic ash, which can cause serious damage to jet engines, has continued to cause disruption on a smaller scale in certain parts of Europe.

A vulcanologist from the University of Iceland said Eyjafjoell activity had worsened in recent days.

‘There is slightly increased activity for the past two days, there has been some ash fall around the glacier,’ said Bjoern Oddsson, who was travelling to the volcano to assess the new situation.

‘The column (of smoke) has increased and rises up to eight kilometres,’ he told AFP, as opposed to six kilometres in previous days.

As for the effect on European flights triggered by the rise in activity, that ‘all depends on the winds’, said the geologist from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland.

Travelling southwards towards the Atlantic Ocean, it should turn towards inner Iceland on Tuesday, according to weather forecasts.

In Britain, the other airports shut from 08:00 am EDT to 02:00 pm EDT as the no-fly zone extended southwards and eastwards were regional air hubs such as East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford, Doncaster and Humberside.

Some Scottish airports, including their fourth busiest, Prestwick, shut down, while all Northern Ireland airports closed for the period. Isle of Man airport also shut.

National Air Traffic Services, which manages British airspace, said the no-fly zone had moved east and south for the six-hour period, and it would issue further updates as necessary.

Britain’s Department of Transport had warned on Saturday British airspace was likely to face partial closures from Sunday until Tuesday due to the volcanic ash cloud.

London airports, including Europe’s busiest air hub, Heathrow, could be affected, it said.

Eurostar, which runs high-speed rail services linking London with Paris and Brussels via the Channel tunnel, said it was laying on extra trains to meet an expected surge in demand.

‘We’ve planned four extra trains on Monday,’ a spokeswoman told AFP. ‘Two between London and Paris and two between Paris and London. It’s because the trains are already very busy and have very little capacity left.’

In the Republic of Ireland, Cork and Shannon remain open until further notice, while Ireland West (Knock), Donegal and Sligo airports remain closed until at least 07:00 am EDT (11:00 am GMT) on Monday.

Kerry is open until further notice, Galway is closed until at least 04:00 am EDT (08:00 am GMT) on Monday and Waterford is to close from 06:00 pm EDT (10:00 pm) until at least 04:00 am EDT (08:00 am GMT) on Monday.

North Atlantic overflights through Irish-controlled airspace remain unaffected.

In Scandinavia, the skies were open over Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and should remain so until at least Monday night.

There were no restrictions on German flights. Ash pollution should remain weak until at least Tuesday.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online – Mila ehf – Lífæð samskipta
» Check your flight information here: American, Delta, United, Continental, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Iberia, TAP, Qantas, JAT
» Important information – British Airways Industrial Action, travel to / from Thailand and Volcanic Flight Disruptions
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office (U.K.), Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), British Department of Transport (DfT), Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Sky News (BSkyB)


Volcanic ash risk and British Airways strikes threaten more air misery

Volcanic ash risk and British Airways strikes threaten more air misery
Sunday, May 16, 2010

NEWS••• Travel chaos is set to return to Britain with fresh threats from an Icelandic volcano and of British Airways cabin crew strikes.

British aviation authorities on Sunday reintroduced a no-fly zone over parts of Northern Ireland as the volcanic ash cloud returned to the skies over the U.K..

They also warned some of the U.K.’s busiest airports, including London’s Heathrow, could close in coming days if the ash cloud drifts southwards as forecast.

The return of the ash cloud, which caused the mass closure of British and European airports in April, comes ahead of a planned five-day strike by British Airways cabin crew on Tuesday in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

British Airways will seek an injunction in the High Court in London on Monday in an attempt to stop the strike, which threatens the travel plans of thousands of the airline’s customers around the world.

If the strike goes ahead, it is likely to compound problems caused by the return of the ash cloud.

In Northern Ireland on Sunday, Belfast International and Belfast City airports as well as Ronaldsway airport on the Isle of Man all had flights cancelled until at least 01:00 pm BST (08:00 am EDT).

Britain’s Transport Department warned there could be further disruption across the country until the middle of the week thanks to ash blowing across from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjoell.

The ash cloud is expected to reach London by Tuesday, threatening the cancellation of flights at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports.

Forecasters believe the ash cloud will begin to drift away from the U.K. on Wednesday when the wind direction is expected to change.

Air passengers travelling to and from Britain in coming days are being warned to check with their airlines before heading to airports to find out if their flights have been cancelled.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the government was carefully monitoring the situation and that passenger safety was its main concern.

‘We have taken the decision to publish five-day forecasts as we want airlines, other transport providers and the public to have the best possible information,’ he said.

‘However, the situation remains fluid and these forecasts are always liable to change.

‘NATS – the U.K.’s air traffic services provider – will advise of any airspace closures as and when they become necessary and I urge passengers to check with their airlines before taking any action.’

Meanwhile, Mr Hammond is preparing to intervene in the dispute between BA and its cabin crew in an attempt to avert up to 20 days of planned strikes in the next four weeks.

Mr. Hammond is to hold emergency talks with both sides on Monday.

British Airways insists that 70 percent of flights, will still operate if cabin crew walk off the job.
» Cabin crew will walk out from May 18 to 22, May 24 to 28, May 30 to June 3 and June 5 to 9, which will cover the school half-term holidays and a bank holiday.
» Important information – British Airways Industrial Action, travel to / from Thailand and Volcanic Flight Disruptions
» Check your flight information here: British Airways

• Source(s): U.K. Press & British Airways



Volcanic ash cloud shuts parts of E.U. airspace

Volcanic ash cloud shuts parts of E.U. airspace
Sunday, May 16, 2010


••• Volcanic ash from Iceland could disrupt air travel in both Britain and Germany in the next few days, officials say.

The British Department of Transport said on Saturday there’s a risk that parts of British airspace could be closed beginning on Sunday and those problems could continue until Tuesday. The predictions are based on the continuing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano and current wind and weather conditions.

It said different parts of British airspace – including England’s southeast, home to Europe’s busiest airport at Heathrow as well as Gatwick, Stansted and other top airports – could close at different times through the next few days.

In Germany, air traffic control spokesman Axel Raab told The Associated Press that German air travel could face possible disruptions starting on Monday, but cautioned that indicators are still ‘very, very vague’.

Germany will send up a test flight on Sunday to measure the ash concentration, German Aerospace Center spokesman Andreas Schuetz said – a measure welcomed by Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, which last month criticised air traffic authorities for their lack of ash testing.

Any decision on German air space closures will be made after examining Sunday’s weather forecasts at an emergency meeting with meteorologists, Raab said.

In Iceland, civil protection official Agust Gunnar Gylfason said the intensity of the Eyjafjallajokul eruption has not changed but wind conditions have.

‘The winds in the vicinity of the volcano are not quite as forceful as they have been, so the ash plume is higher closer to the volcano,’ he said. ‘The weather patterns are the predominant factor in deciding where the ash goes.’

The Met Office, Britain’s weather forecaster, said on Saturday the wind is expected to change direction on Tuesday, which would lower the risk of travel disruptions.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said five-day forecasts are now being published to give airlines and travellers ‘the best possible information. However, he said the situation ‘remains fluid and these forecasts are always liable to change’.
British airport operator BAA said on its website on Saturday that all of its facilities are open, but the ash cloud ‘continues to cause occasional problems’. It said it will have a clearer idea of how the ash could affect southern England over the next 24 hours.

Airlines, including Lufthansa and British Airways, have criticised past air space closures as an overreaction by regulators.

The controversy over how to handle the flight disruptions led to the resignation of a top Lufthansa executive, news weekly Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

Stefanie Stotz, a spokeswoman for Lufthansa, confirmed that chief security pilot Juergen Steinberg is leaving ‘by mutual agreement’ on August 1. He had criticised Lufthansa’s leadership for operating flights under visual flight rules while German airspace was still officially closed because of the ash cloud.

Steinberg represents about 4000 pilots and advises Lufthansa’s board on security issues.

In Rome, Italy’s civil aviation agency fined Ryanair about three million euros ($3.81 million) for failing to help 178 passengers stranded last month when flights were cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud. The ENAC agency said those Ryanair passengers didn’t receive mandatory assistance such as food, drink and lodgings during the April 15-22 flight shutdown across much of Europe.

Ryanair said the company hadn’t been informed of the fine.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online – Mila ehf – Lífæð samskipta
» Check your flight information here: American, Delta, United, Continental, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Iberia, TAP, Qantas, JAT
» Important information – British Airways Industrial Action, travel to / from Thailand and Volcanic Flight Disruptions
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office (U.K.), Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), British Department of Transport (DfT), German Aerospace Center (DLR) and ITN


Google Data Admission Angers Europe

Google Data Admission Angers Europe

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Germany’s Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner has sharply criticized Google for inadvertently collecting personal data.

“According to the information available to us so far, Google has for years penetrated private networks, apparently illegally,” Aigner said in a statement on Saturday.

The “alarming incident” showed that Google still lacks understanding for the need for privacy, according to the statement.

Privacy breach

Google’s fleet of Street View cars, photographing streets for its online map program, has been collecting more data than previously thought. After reviewing a system in the cars that recorded names and addresses of wireless networks detected along the routes, Google revealed that a programming error had led to small amounts of personal data to be collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

“It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open Wi-Fi networks,” Google’s head of engineering Alan Eustace said in a blog posting.

The blog post did not specify what kinds of personal data had been collected but indicated it could be things such as email and web browsing history. However, since the data had been collected by moving vehicles, only fragments of information were recorded. Google regretted its mistake and would look for a way to destroy the personal data.

“Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short,” said Eustace in the blog post.

Google reviewed its data collection methods in response to an inquiry from the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg.

The Google Street View service allows users to “walk” along panoramic street views in many countries, using images recorded by specially-outfitted cars. The fleet of cars around the world has been halted for the time being as Google attempts to fix the glitch.

The Street View project is controversial in Germany due to privacy concerns.
• Source(s): Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and Google Inc.


Surgery Tool Shows Route Map To The Brain

Surgery Tool Shows Route Map To The Brain

Brain Surgery Advance: Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Using BrainLAB Navigation To Remove Tumours

Friday, May 14, 2010

••• A sat nav-style guidance system has given surgeons a precise route map deep inside the brain.

The technique, unveiled by Alder Hey children’s hospital in the U.K., allows doctors to remove tumours and other abnormal tissue more safely.

And for the first time in Europe, surgeons can also wheel their patient straight into an MRI scanner to double-check all diseased areas have been removed.

Patients remain anaesthetised and only have their wound closed up once the scan gives the all-clear.

Paediatric surgeon Sasha Burn told Sky News that a brain tumour can re-grow if any cells are left behind in an operation.

The new set-up gives peace of mind, she said.

‘With children’s tumours it’s very important that we take away all the tumour at the first operation. It increases the survival after the operation enormously,’ she said.

The navigation system – called BrainLAB – synchronises pre-operative brain scans with the child’s position on the operating table.

It shows surgeons the best route to the target area in the brain.

The scans can be updated during the operation, allowing the route map to be refreshed.

Millimetres matter because diseased tissue can be next to crucial parts of the brain, including those controlling speech and vision.
One of the first patients to benefit from the system is 12-year-old Bradley Martin.

He has epilepsy caused by a pea-sized cyst on his brain – and surgeons were able to remove it in a five-hour operation, which could prevent future seizures.

Before the surgery, his dad, Brett, said: ‘He loves mountain biking, but it’s a terrible worry for us that he might have an episode when he is cycling quickly.

‘To have him fit-free would be a wonderful thing.’

Afterwards Miss Burn said he had ‘an extremely good chance of being completely seizure free’.

The operating theatre was made possible with a £3 million ($4.432 million) donation from the Barclay Foundation.
• Source(s): Sky News / British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. (BSkyB) / News Corp.


Airports Reopen After Volcanic Ash Cloud Air Disruption

Airports Reopen After Volcanic Ash Cloud Air Disruption
Thursday, May 13, 2010

Earth••• Restrictions on flights to and from airports in Spain, Portugal and Morocco were lifted following days of disruption caused by volcanic ash cloud.

In Spain, all airports resumed normal operations, with Valencia, the last to see restrictions lifted, reopening from 06:00 am GMT (02:00 am EDT), said the Spanish air traffic control organisation Aena.

A ban on flights was also lifted at all Portuguese airports on Wednesday, said Portugal’s NAV air traffic authority.

‘There is no more disruption,’ said a statement issued by the authority.
However, flights from Tunisia to Morocco and some European destinations were disrupted, although Tunisia’s transport ministry said that flights had only been delayed and none cancelled.

‘There has been some disruption since Tuesday to flights leaving Tunisian airports destined for Spain, Portugal and Italy because of the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption,’ the ministry said.

In Morocco, the main airports, in particular Casablanca and Rabat, reopened at 06:00 am GMT (02:00 am EDT) on Wednesday after overnight restrictions.

Algerian officials said the ash had reached as far as the east of the capital Algiers but that air traffic remained normal so far.

The ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, which began erupting on April 14, last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II.

Volcanologists in Iceland said the latest ash cloud problems, which first forced closures of Spanish airports from last Saturday, were caused by ash left over from previous weeks which can travel around in the atmosphere due to winds.
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office (U.K.) and Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)


British Airways plans fresh strikes

British Airways plans fresh strikes

Monday, May 10, 2010

NEWS Unite said its members at the airline would take 20 days of action following their rejection of the company’s latest offer aimed at ending the long-running dispute.

Cabin crew will walk out from May 18 to 22, May 24 to 28, May 30 to June 3 and June 5 to 9, which will cover the school half-term holidays and a bank holiday.

Unite ordered four five-day strikes from May 18 to June 9 which will affect fans flying to the World Cup in South Africa.

Leaders of British Airways cabin crew will on Monday consider calling fresh strikes after the rejection of a deal aimed at ending their long-running dispute.

Members of Unite voted by 81 percent in a 71 percent turnout not to accept a proposal from the airline which would have ended a bitter, year-long row.

Union activists will press their leaders to call a lengthy strike following a series of stoppages in March which caused travel chaos for passengers and cost BA tens of millions of pounds.

British Airways accused Unite of ‘orchestrating’ rejection of a ‘very fair’ offer it said addressed all the concerns raised during 14 months of talks.

Representatives of the cabin crew will meet Unite’s joint general secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley, to discuss their next move.

The two union leaders said: ‘British Airways management should take note of their own employees’ strong rejection of their offer and immediately address the outstanding concerns.

‘They should make no mistake that Unite is fully committed to supporting our members in furthering this dispute if no resolution is found.’

British Airways said in a statement: ‘British Airways is disappointed but not surprised that Unite has clearly orchestrated a rejection of a very fair offer that addresses all the concerns raised during 14 months of talks.

‘We urge Unite to put an end to this unnecessary dispute and focus on the best interests of its members. There can be nothing positive to be gained from further strikes.

‘The majority of our crew came to work during the previous strikes and demonstrated their firm commitment to our customers, despite their union’s callous disregard for the traveling public.

‘Unlike other businesses and airlines, we have avoided compulsory redundancies. Cabin crew face no pay cut or reduction in terms and conditions, and remain the best rewarded in the U.K. airline industry.

‘It is not too late for Unite to put an end to this dispute and support our recovery from two consecutive years of record losses and return to sustained profitability and job security for its members.’

More than 7,000 union members took part in the latest ballot, with over 5,600 rejecting the deal and 1,375 voting in favour.

Union officials said the ballot result showed the continued ‘strength and courage’ of the cabin crew, despite claims of threats, bullying, sanctions and loss of earnings.

Cabin crew representatives said they had not ‘dissected’ the proposed deal because it had not been recommended, but officials said there was a ‘complete lack’ of any detail.

The original dispute was over pay, jobs and conditions, including staffing cuts on flights, but the latest offer was rejected because British Airways has not fully restored travel concessions taken away from crew who went on strike, and because over 50 union members have been suspended.

Five people who went on strike have now been sacked, including the branch secretary of the cabin crew’s union section, the British Airways Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA).

‘Your union is looking for a reasonable compromise to allow the threat of any industrial action to be lifted and ensure that all of us can move on and put this behind us.

‘Subsequent recriminatory actions and public statements of intent have now made this increasingly difficult and unlikely.

‘An insistence that people who participated in lawful and legal industrial action are punished is simply not helpful in finding a solution to what are already difficult issues,’ said a message from BASSA.

‘There is still time to avoid unnecessary disruption and anxiety to both cabin crew, fellow colleagues and of course, our customers.

‘We sincerely hope that this opportunity is not squandered but by now we think we all know that it will be. This is a company that is now not prepared to settle for anything less, and are now literally hell bent on the total destruction of your union to pave the way for its low-cost vision of the future.’



Airports operate normally as ash clears over Europe

Airports operate normally as ash clears over Europe
Monday, May 10, 2010

Earth••• Flights across Europe were operating normally Monday after a plume of volcanic ash that disrupted air traffic and forced some airports to close over the weekend dispersed, aviation officials said.

But delays on trans-Atlantic flights were expected because another band in mid-ocean was still blocking the air routes between Europe and North America, the European air traffic agency Eurocontrol said.

“While most of these flights are oprating, many are having to make significant re-routings to avoid the area of ash cloud coverage, resulting in delays,” according to a statement from the agency.

The ash cloud from a fresh eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull volcano reached west and northwest Romania and is expected to cover most part of the country by Tuesday afternoon, said the authorities on Monday.

Citing the latest forecast of the London Volcanic Ash Advisory, Romania’s Environment Ministry said the cloud will cover most of the country by 03:00 am EEST (08:00 pm EDT on Monday, May 10) on Tuesday.

According to the National Meteorology Administration, the volcano ash cloud over Romania’s territory is not causing pollution, during the coming 24 hours.

Romania will not close its airspace Monday, said Civil Aviation Department chief Catalin Radu, adding that the night evolution of the cloud does not affect airline traffic.

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano began erupting last month, causing air travel chaos across Europe for about a week as many countries closed their airspace, due to lack of visibility and the danger the ashes pose to aircraft.

Ireland will re-open its airports on Monday after the latest aerial shutdown due to volcanic ash from Iceland that is still causing travel disruptions around Europe after nearly a month.

Donegal, Sligo, Ireland West (Knock), Galway and Kerry on the west coast will re-open at 06:00 am IST (02:00 am EDT), said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

They were closed progressively on Sunday due to the threat to plane engines from an ash cloud hovering over the Atlantic.

‘The past number of days has seen the growth of a large cloud of high ash concentration off the west coast of Ireland, and this has caused difficulty for some transatlantic operations,’ said the IAA in a statement.

Restrictions were also lifted late on Sunday in Scottish airspace – they had been imposed over some northern areas – with the exception of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

Ireland has faced several fresh shutdowns in recent days. On Thursday airports were closed before being re-opened just three hours later.
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office (U.K.) and Irish Aviation Authority(IAA)


Volcanic ash cloud returns, disrupting European flights

Volcanic ash cloud returns, disrupting European flights
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Earth••• A cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland has continued to move over parts of Europe and the North Atlantic.

About 900 flights to and from airports in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany were canceled on Sunday as a result of the cloud, announced European airspace controller Eurocontrol.

Hundreds of flights at airports from Lisbon to Munich have been cancelled and some European airspace has been closed because of a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that caused air travel chaos last month.

All flights to the city of Porto in northern Portugal and the Azores were suspended on Sunday, with normal operations expected to resume by 06:00 am GMT (02:00 am EDT) on Monday, airport officials there said.

In all more than 200 flights were grounded in Portugal, including 71 at Lisbon’s airport, where Pope Benedict XVI is due to arrive on Tuesday for a four-day visit to the country.

The Vatican said the pontiff’s trip was still on schedule despite the air traffic disruptions.

‘At the present time, we expect no change to the program’ of the Pope’s visit, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told AFP.

The volcanic ash cloud’s unwelcome return affected air travel across much of southern Europe, especially in France and Italy, and extended into Austria and Germany.

The airspace around the southern German city of Munich was closed at 01:00 pm GMT (09;00 am EDT), cancelling flights there and at other airports, including Stuttgart, authorities said.

‘Due to the high level of contamination from volcanic ash, there have been no flights taking off or landing at Munich airport,’ said the air safety agency, DFS. The measures will be in force ‘until further notice’.

Neighbouring Austria has partly closed its airspace until the early hours of Monday, hampering traffic at airports in Vienna, Innsbruck, Linz and Salzburg, the air authority Austro Control said.

The coordinator of air traffic control across Europe said it expected about 24,500 flights to take place on Sunday, about 500 less than the average for this time of year.

Eurocontrol said: ‘Transatlantic flights continue to be affected by the ash cloud,’ with many suffering delays as they skirt the edges of the volcanic plume.

Authorities reopened Italy’s skies in the north to air traffic at 02:00 pm GMT on Sunday (10:00 am EDT on Monday) after shutting down its airspace earlier for about six hours as the ash cloud hovered over the peninsula, cancelling nearly 300 flights at Milan airports.

On Croatia’s Adriatic coast the ash cloud forced officials to close airports at Split and Zadar at 12:00 pm GMT (08:00 am EDT).

In France, the airspace remained open on Sunday but at least 70 flights bound for southern Europe were grounded at airports in Paris, Lyon, and Nice, the nearest international airport to Cannes, which is to host its flagship international film festival in three days.

The French weather service said the volcanic ash cloud could drift over southern France by Monday morning and could affect Europe’s skies for several months.

Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano erupted on April 14 and caused travel chaos worldwide, with airspace closed over many European nations for a week in mid-April over fears the ash would damage aircraft engines with fatal results.

It was the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled affecting about eight million passengers. The airline industry said it lost about 2.5 billion euros ($3.18 billion).

The volcano began fresh and intensive ash eruptions overnight on Thursday and closed Ireland’s airspace for a time, and was again affecting the island nation on Sunday.

Irish airports at Donegal, Sligo and Ireland West (Knock) on the western coast face restrictions from 02:00 pm GMT (10:00 am EDT) on Sunday while Galway will be disrupted from 03:00 pm GMT (11:00 am EDT) and Kerry from 09:00 pm GMT (05:00 pm EDT), authorities said.

Meanwhile, Spanish air traffic was returning to normal, with most of the 19 airports in northern Spain that were closed on Saturday reopening about 02:00 pm GMT (10:00 am EDT), air control authority Aena said.
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office (U.K.), Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Icelandic Met Office


Ash cloud shuts several airports again

Ash cloud shuts several airports again
Ash Cloud Stalls Trans-Atlantic Flights
Saturday, May 8, 2010


••• European air traffic faces growing disruption again, with a cloud of ash spewing from an Icelandic volcano affecting flights in Spain, France and Portugal.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday, while many trans-Atlantic services were delayed as they skirted the plume of debris from the Eyjafjoell volcano, which plunged air travel across the continent into chaos last month.

‘Ash eruptions are ongoing and the area of potential ash contamination is expanding,’ the Brussels-based European air traffic coordination agency Eurocontrol said in a statement on Saturday.

Trans-Atlantic flights, being re-routed around the area owing to different concentrations of ash particles and predicted engine tolerance levels at different altitudes, are already experiencing ‘substantial delays’, it said.

About 25,000 flights were expected to cross European skies on Saturday, well down from more than 30,000 on Friday.

‘The reduction of available airspace is also impacting flights arriving in or departing from the Iberian peninsula and delays could be expected,’ Eurocontrol said.

Spain shut down 19 airports because of the ash cloud, including Barcelona, the country’s second biggest airport, which ceased operations at 03:30pm CET (09:30 am EDT) on Saturday, national airport operator Aena said.

A total of 673 flights had already been cancelled and Aena said the closures would be in place until at least 08:00 pm UTC [GMT] on Saturday (02:00 pm EST). National airline Iberia suspended all flights to northern Spain.

In Portugal, 104 flights serving Lisbon, Oporto and Faro were cancelled on Saturday, hitting mainly low-cost airlines, airport officials and websites said.

Portuguese air traffic control said restrictions would be lifted gradually from 12:00 pm GMT (06:00 am EDT).

In France, the national weather service said the ash cloud would be covering the southern part of the country by late Saturday, with concentrations rising to 19 685.04 feet.

Meteo France official Roxane Desire could not predict if the ash would disperse before Wednesday’s opening of the Cannes film festival, when private jets in particular throng Riviera airports.

An Air France plane took off from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Saturday afternoon on a flight to test ash levels, an airport source said.

Marseille airport, the main French hub for low-cost carrier Ryanair, said all that company’s flights from 02:00 pm GMT (08:00 am EDT) had been cancelled, plus two services to Lisbon, making a total of 15 flights. There were also cancellations from Bordeaux.

In Iceland itself about 60 inhabitants of the zone around the volcano have left the area voluntarily following the fresh eruptions, a civil protection agency official said on Saturday.

‘There is a lot of ash falling and the community is affected,’ Gudrun Johannesdottir told AFP, adding that authorities are monitoring the situation closely but no evacuation has been ordered.

‘The Red Cross opened centres for people needing assistance. Those leaving (the area) have to report to the Red Cross,’ she said.

Eyjafjoell began fresh and intensive ash eruptions on Thursday night and caused Ireland and the Faroe Islands to shut their airspace for a time.

Bjoern Oddsson, a geologist at the University of Iceland, said the smoke plume over the volcano had risen to seven km on Saturday and was bearing southeast.

‘The volcanic activity is similar to what it was yesterday and hasn’t increased, even though it might seem like that to the people living in the area affected by ash fall,’ he said.

The volcano began erupting on April 14 and caused travel chaos, with airspaces closed over several European nations for a week because of fears that aircraft engines would be damaged with fatal consequences.

It was the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled and eight million passengers affected. The airline industry said it lost about $3.18 billion.
• Source(s): Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Euronews


Stocks turn negative for 2010

Stocks turn negative for 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

••• U.S. stocks continued to fall in early trading on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 turning negative for the year as traders preferred to stay on the sidelines after Thursday’s unprecedented market plunge.

U.S. stocks saw a 10 percent correction in ten minutes on Thursday, sending investors in great panic. The Dow Jones industrial average experienced its largest-ever point decline in intraday trading, plummeting almost 1,000 points before recovering to close down about 348 points.

Speculation of bad trades emerged in the market as many traders suspected a glitch in the trading of Dow component Procter & Gambles played a role in the heavy selling.

Investors preferred to stay on the sidelines after the unprecedented plunge, even after payrolls data came in better than expected, as uncertainties over European debt problems were still haunting in the market.

According to the Labor Department, non-farm payrolls expanded by 290,000 in April, the most in four years as more confident employers stepped up hiring. The unemployment rate rose from 9.7 percent in March to 9.9 percent, mainly because 805,000 jobseekers resumed their searches for work as the economy showed more signs of recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 112.75, or 1.07 percent, to 10,407.57. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 13.14, or 1.16 percent, to 1,115.01 and the Nasdaq was down 36.41, or 1. 57 percent, to 2,283.23.
President Barack Obama says U.S. authorities are probing ‘unusual’ stock market activity which triggered a slump in the value of securities, and will act to protect investors.

Obama diverted from a statement at the White House on Friday on a sharp increase in job creation, saying he wanted to ‘speak to the unusual market activity’ that took place on Wall Street on Thursday.

‘The regulatory authorities are evaluating this closely with a concern for protecting investors and preventing this from happening again and they will make findings of their review public along with recommendations for appropriate action,’ he said.


Record 998.5 point drop for Dow Jones before recovery

Record 998.5 point drop for Dow Jones before recovery

Thursday, May 6, 2010

••• Panic selling swept U.S. markets on Thursday as the Dow Jones plunged a record of almost 1000 points before recouping more than half those losses.

It was unclear whether the sudden sell-off, the Dow’s biggest ever intra-day drop, was the result of fears over the Greek debt crisis, a mistaken trade or technical error.

The crash began shortly before 2.25 pm EDT, when in a white-knuckle 20 minutes America’s top 30 firms saw their share prices dive 998.5 points, almost nine per cent, wiping out billions in market value.

The drop eclipsed even the crashes seen when markets reopened after September 11, 2001 and in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The Dow later recovered, closing nearly four per cent down, but spooked traders were left wondering whether a technical glitch had caused the blue-chip index to erode three months of solid gains.

Rumours swirled that a Citigroup trader had mistakenly sold 16 billion rather than 16 million stocks in Procter and Gamble shares, forcing the Dow down.

Shares in the consumer goods giant lost more than seven U.S. dollars, falling in a similar pattern to the Dow, trading at a low of $55 a share.

‘At this point, we have no evidence that Citi was involved in any erroneous transaction,’ said company spokesman Stephen Cohen.

A spokesperson for the New York Stock Exchange said the cause was still not known.

‘We don’t know, right now we’re looking into it,’ said Christian Braakman, ‘it’s all speculation.’

But after three days in which stocks have suffered triple-digit intra-day losses because of concern about Greece’s debt crisis, it was clear that the sell-off was real for some investors.

At the close, the Dow had recovered to 10,520.32, down 347.80 (3.20 percent), while the Nasdaq was down 82.65 points (3.44 percent) at 2,319.64. The Standard Poors 500 Index was down 37.72 points (3.24 percent) to 1,128.15.

Images of rioting as the Greek parliament passed unpopular austerity measures did little to ease market panic.

The parliament approved billions of euros of spending cuts pledged in exchange for a 110 billion euros ($138.55 billion) E.U.-IMF bailout just one day after three bank workers died in a firebomb attack during a huge protest.

On Thursday, police charged to scatter hundreds of youths at the tail-end of a new protest outside parliament that drew more than 10,000 people.

In Lisbon, European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet battled to reassure financial markets that Greece’s debt crisis would not end in default, but could not prevent the euro from falling to a 14-month low against the dollar.

Pleas for patience from the White House also had little impact.

The White House said that reforms in Greece were ‘important’ but would take time and that the U.S. Treasury was monitoring the situation.

‘The president has heard regularly from his economic team,’ said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, adding that President Barack Obama’s top economic officials were closely communicating with their European counterparts.
• Source(s): Associated Press


Ash Closes Scottish and Irish Airports

Ash Closes Scottish and Irish Airports
Wednesday, May 5, 2010


••• Britain and Ireland have grounded flights again after a fresh cloud of ash swept in from the Icelandic volcano which sparked unprecedented air travel chaos in Europe last month.

In a second day of renewed airspace disruption on Wednesday, thousands of passengers in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland were forced to cancel travel plans.

‘We are feeling disappointed as we were looking forward to it, and I don’t think we’ll be able to rearrange it,’ said Mabel McGeachie, 62, whose easyJet flight from Glasgow to Malaga in Spain was cancelled.

British regulators imposed a flight ban from Scottish and Northern Irish airports from 07:00 am IST (02:00 am EDT) on Wednesday for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

Irish authorities, who stopped flights for several hours on Tuesday, also closed airports progressively from 06:00 am GMT (02:00 am EDT) while saying transatlantic and other planes could still fly over at higher altitudes.

‘The volcano in Iceland has expelled denser, coarser ash higher into the atmosphere,’ said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

It said Dublin airport would stay closed until at least 03:00 am GMT (11:00 pm EDT[Wednesday]) on Thursday, while the southwestern airports of Cork, Kerry and Shannon were closing and would likely remain that way until mid-Thursday.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) added: ‘Forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufacturers have agreed are safe for operations.’

While the flight ban would remain in place for the rest of Wednesday, the CAA said it hoped the restrictions could be lifted on Thursday.

‘We are pretty confident that the ash plumes will start drifting west across the Atlantic and that all U.K. airspace will be clear of ash tomorrow,’ said a CAA spokesman.

‘It’s possible that if the strength of the wind picks up then some of the airports not operating at the moment might be able to handle flights later today. But it’s certainly looking good for tomorrow.’

The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and travel misery for thousands of passengers.

Airspace across Europe was closed for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

The aerial shutdown was the biggest in Europe since World War II.

In Iceland itself on Tuesday, the Eyjafjoell volcano spewed more ash than in recent days, although the level remained much lower than when the eruption began three weeks ago, an Icelandic geophysicist told AFP.

‘The plume has increased. It is black… There is more ash in the plume and it is (rising) higher,’ Sigrun Hreinsdottir of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik said on Wednesday.

Irish airline Aer Lingus said the flight ban last month had cost it about $25.70 million, while warning that ‘the final cost will depend on the actual level of customer claims.’

The Association of British Insurers estimated Tuesday that the travel chaos caused by the ash had cost insurers around $93.83 million.

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic control co-ordinator, said more than 100,000 flights to, from and within Europe had been cancelled between April 15 and 21, preventing an estimated 10 million passengers from travelling.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
• Source(s): U.K. Met Office, Irish Aviation Authority, Eurocontrol, Bloomberg, AFP and ITN



Irish flights resume after ash cloud threat lifts

Irish flights resume after ash cloud threat lifts

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


••• Ireland and Britain re-opened their airspace on Tuesday after imposing a temporary flight ban due to the return of ash from an Icelandic volcano which paralysed Europe’s skies last month.

The authority attributed Tuesday’s six-hour shutdown in services to shifting winds that pushed ash plumes from Iceland south into Irish airspace.

However it says the latest forecasts show that ‘full operations’ can resume on Tuesday afternoon at all Irish airports.

The shutdown that began at 07:00 am IST (02:00 am EDT / 06:00 am UTC [GMT]) grounded more than 200 flights chiefly operated by airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

The authority cautioned that Ireland would remain vulnerable to ash-related shutdowns.

‘Winds are forecast to continue coming from a northerly direction for the next few days and this could lead to further problems,’ it said.

Restrictions at some Irish airports from 08:00 am IST (03:00 am EDT), Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Increased volcanic activity was experience in Iceland yesterday Tuesday 4th May 2010 resulting in denser volcanic ash being expelled higher into the atmosphere.

Based on the most recent Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and Eurocontrol data, restrictions will apply at the following airports from the times indicated.

Donegal – restricted from 08:00 am IST (03:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Sligo – restricted from 09:00 am IST (04:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Dublin – restricted from 11:00 am IST (06:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Ireland West (Knock) – restricted from 11:00 am IST (06:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Cork, Waterford and Kerry will not have restrictions imposed before 02:00 pm IST (09:00 am EDT), though restrictions after that point are likely.

No restrictions will apply to Shannon airport or Galway airport until further notice.

A further statement will be issued by 10:00 am IST (05:00 am EDT) this morning, following the receipt of updated volcanic ash data.

Airline passengers should continue to contact their airline websites to establish the up-to-date position on flight schedules.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
• Source(s): U.K. Met Office, Irish Aviation Authority and Eurocontrol


Ireland may have to restrict airspace due to ash

Ireland may have to restrict airspace due to ash

Monday, May 3, 2010


••• The new ban will apply from 07:00 am to 01:00 pm IST (06:00 am – 12:00 pm GMT / 02:00 am – 08:00 am EDT) on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. » The next update will be at approximately 08:00 pm IST (07:00 pm GMT / 03:00 pm EDT).
••• Ireland may have to re-impose a flight ban in its airspace as ash from an Icelandic volcano drifts towards it, the Irish Aviation Authority said on Monday.

The body said it had ‘informed Irish-based airlines that it is concerned that Irish airports may be impacted by the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds’.

‘Current information from the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre (VAAC) suggests that a ‘no fly zone’ may have to be imposed over Ireland tomorrow that may affect Dublin, Shannon and some regional airports,’ it said.

Airspace across Europe was closed down for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
» Predicted ash concentration charts


Airlines edge slowly back to ‘business as usual’

Airlines edge slowly back to ‘business as usual’

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Europe’s airspace reopened for business as Iceland’s volcano lost its fury Wednesday, leaving passengers scrambling to get home and recriminations flying over the $US1.7 billion cost of the crisis.

Three-quarters of flights scheduled in Europe were on track to fly, said the body coordinating air traffic across the continent, a week after a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused the worst disruption to aviation since World War II.

While experts in Iceland said the Eyjafjjoell volcano had lost most of its intensity, airline bosses were frantically adding up the cost of the crisis which their umbrella body said had cost $US400 million a day at its peak.

All of Europe’s main air hubs were up and running on Wednesday and the Europe-wide coordinating body Eurocontrol said it expected some 21,000 flights to take place in European airspace, against a typical 28,000.

In Europe’s far north, Helsinki in Finland and airspace over the remote Scottish isles of Orkney and Shetland were temporarily reclosed due to still unsafe ash levels.

But Iceland’s other Nordic neighbours Norway, Denmark and Sweden lifted the last of their flight restrictions in a sign the worst of the threat had faded.

Millions had their travel plans affected since governments closed their airspace last Thursday and IATA, the body representing the global airline industry, put the overall cost at $US1.7 billion.

European governments ‘must take their responsibility’ and help the carriers, said IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh had branded the ban unnecessary, with the disruption heaping more misery on an airline reeling from a recent strike.

Flights were finally cleared for landing at London’s Heathrow airport on Tuesday night, but BA flew around two dozen long-haul planes back to Britain even before the no-fly zone was lifted.

Some were initially turned away and forced to land at other airports but there were scenes of jubilation on other planes when pilots announced they had been cleared to land at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport.

British opposition leader David Cameron – who is challenging Labour leader Gordon Brown for the premiership next month – called for a public inquiry into the ‘muddle and confusion’ in the government’s handling of the crisis.

British Airways said they were hoping to operate all longhaul flights from Heathrow and Gatwick as normal Wednesday.

Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the head of Lufthansa, said his firm expected to operate around 500 flights, a third of its normal service.

Dutch airline KLM expected to resume all inter-continental flights to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and about 70 percent of flights in Europe.

All long-haul passenger services from Paris’ main international hub Charles de Gaulle were operating as scheduled, airport officials said, while Air France said it had flown 40,000 stranded people back home since Tuesday.

Emirates said it was trying to operate as many flights as possible but added that ‘passengers are asked to be patient’.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for Europeans stuck in Asia with airlines such Air China announcing all its Europe flights would be departing.

But Frances Tuke, a spokeswoman for the British travel organisation Abta, warned passengers against getting their hopes up.

‘I know for example that some of our tour operators have decided to cancel their programs going out of the UK in order that they can try to reposition their aircraft and crew,’ she said. ‘It’s a huge logistical operation.’

Passengers trying to catch a flight at Heathrow were still in the dark about when their ordeal would end.

‘It has been impossible to know when our flights would leave so we have been stuck waiting and wondering,’ said Veronique David, 42-year-old French nurse, huddled in a green fleece blanket given to people who spent the night there.

She was hoping to get back to Paris after being stranded in San Francisco since last Thursday with a group that was shunted from hotel to hotel and spent one night wandering around the airport.

‘It has certainly been an unforgettable holiday,’ she said.

In Iceland, the civil protection agency said the volcano had lost nearly 80 per cent of its intensity.

‘Explosive activity has diminished. Ash production has gone down. It’s really insignificant right now,’ said Pall Einarsson, a seismologist from Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences.

Einarsson however said the volcano had ‘not gone to sleep’ and that it was impossible to predict when it would stop erupting.

As recriminations flew, a vulcanologist advising the United Nations said European authorities had no choice but to close their airspace for lack of hard facts about aircraft behaviour in volcanic ash.

Closure to air traffic ‘was the only measure that could be taken,’ said Henry Gaudru, president of the European Vulcanological Society.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online


Flights start to resume in Europe

Flights start to resume in Europe

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


••• Britain’s first flight since European governments eased airspace restrictions left Scotland early on Tuesday, but there were new warnings of a fresh cloud of volcanic ash heading this way.

Initial plans to resume flights from London later in the day were shelved, but Prime Minister Gordon Brown said airlines were seizing the chance to fly passengers into and out of the country.

‘We are taking advantage of the window of opportunity, but our first priority is that passengers will always be safe,’ he said, adding: ‘We know that further volcanic ash will be in the clouds over the next day or two.’

The first flight took off from Glasgow airport for Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides, at 7.15am GMT, 15 minutes after Scottish airspace reopened.

U.S. businessman Jim Welsh was hopeful as he checked in, ironically, for a flight to Iceland, where the volcanic eruption occurred last week.

‘I’m thrilled I can get this flight. I’m planning on getting a flight to Boston from Iceland,’ said the 52-year-old.

‘I was in London for business and I was supposed to leave Heathrow on Thursday. I travelled by train to Glasgow on Thursday night but couldn’t get on the flights leaving here on Friday,’ he said.

Under relentless pressure from airlines who have lost more than a billion dollars from the crisis so far, E.U. transport ministers agreed to ease restrictions from Tuesday.

On Monday, the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which manages British airspace, gave the go-ahead for the Scottish reopening and said more airspace over England may become available from about 12:00 GMT.

But on Tuesday it signalled tighter restrictions, saying parts of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports would be available from 12:00 – 18:00 GMT.

Flights would also take off from Newcastle airport in northeast England. But restrictions would remain in place for the rest of Britain for airspace below 20,000 feet.

Brown rejected suggestions that authorities were being too cautious.

‘I understand the inconvenience that this is causing,’ he said.

But he added: ‘I think everybody knows when you have volcanic ash in the atmosphere it creates a danger for the planes. All the advice is that we have got to be absolutely vigilant about how and when you are now flying.’
European Union transport ministers held emergency talks in Brussels in a bid to resolve the massive disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud blowing across the continent. This came as Switzerland extended a ban on commercial flights to Tuesday.

Click here for the latest status of disruptions across the continent The International Air Transport Association has sharply criticised European governments for their lack of leadership in handling the airspace restrictions.

“This is a European embarrassment and it’s a European mess,” said the association’s director general, Giovanni Bisignani.

All the major airports in Western Europe remained close but authorities in Sweden, Romania, Croatia and the Czech Republic announced the resumption of flights.

The closure of most of Europe’s airspace since late last Thursday has cost the airline industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

With air traffic officials still designating much of the continent a virtual no-fly zone, airlines were urging a rethink of airspace restrictions as test flights showed no problems.

French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo however said the test flights were not steps towards reopening European airspace.

“We do tests and everything goes back to normal? No. It’s not a theory which exists.”

Despite the row, an Icelandic seismologist said Monday the volcanic eruption has “diminished markedly” and now is spewing far less ash.

British Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said European and international agencies were in urgent talks to try to ease the chaos.

“We want to be able to resume flights as soon as possible, but safety remains my paramount concern,” he said.

E.U. Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said he had ordered a full study to assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online


Europe air traffic to resume soon

Europe air traffic to resume soon

Monday, 19 April 2010


••• 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


Volcanic Ash could hit Canadian coast Monday; Inside Iceland’s apocalypse wow

Volcanic Ash could hit Canadian coast Monday; Inside Iceland’s apocalypse wow

Monday, 19 April 2010


••• Volcanic ash from last week’s eruption in Iceland could hit the eastern coast of Canada later on Monday, forecasters at Britain’s Met Office said.

Forecast charts show the ash could touch Canada from about 12:00 GMT and forecaster Bob Syvret told AFP: ‘It does suggest that the remnants of the volcanic plume may be appearing near the Newfoundland area.’

He said this was likely the remnants of the first eruption on Wednesday, which has been carried over on an area of high pressure.

The Met Office is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), and because of the ongoing volcanic activity U.K. airspace has now been closed until 1 am GMT Tuesday.

Eruptions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano are weakening but, for the time being, weather patterns continue to blow volcanic ash towards the U.K.

Met Office and NERC observations are consistent with Met Office model forecasts for spread of ash over U.K. and north-west Europe. The Met Office commissioned NERC Dornier flight yesterday observed volcanic ash over the UK as far south as Southern England. An international effort is now in progress to coordinate the gathering of additional observational data.

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. NATS are continuing to advise restrictions on U.K. airspace until Tuesday morning.

We will continue to offer advice to NATS about the spread of any residual ash. Assuming the volcanic activity continues to weaken, we can expect ash clearance across the U.K. and we will be looking for the earliest opportunity that this might happen.

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

» Millions watch Iceland volcano online


European flight ban extended to fifth day

European flight ban extended to fifth day

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth••• Millions of people face worsening travel chaos as a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland moves further south and east, forcing European countries to extend flight bans.

Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano erupted on Wednesday, sending ash drifting towards Europe at an altitude of about eight to 6.21 miles.

Europe’s three biggest airports – Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt – were closed. The ash cloud is now spreading towards Greece.

With flights grounded all over Europe, stranded holidaymakers and business travellers sought any means possible to get home – or contented themselves with just staying put.
An official for the Eurostar Channel tunnel rail service said thousands more passengers than normal were set to travel on its trains between London and continental Europe on Saturday.

British businessman Tom Noble said he had to buy a women’s bicycle to board a ferry home from France as the operator had no foot passenger tickets left and would only allow him on if he was a genuine cyclist.

Sky News reported comedian John Cleese paid $4617 for a taxi from Norway to Brussels so he could get the Eurostar home to England.

Airport closures

France has shut the three airports in the Paris area and others in the north of the country until 8 am on Monday due to the ash cloud that has caused the biggest airspace shutdown since World War II.

Italy will not allow any flights in the north of the country until 6 am GMT Monday, while Britain, Ireland and Germany have shut their airspace until 12 pm GMT Sunday.

British Airways has also cancelled all flights due to have arrived in and departed London today.

Other European nations also moved to extend their flight bans, including Austria to midnight GMT today and Belgium to noon GMT today.

Poland says it’s shutting its airspace “until further notice”.

The closure of Poland’s airspace has stopped world leaders, including President Barack Obama, from flying to the southern city of Krakow for Sunday’s funeral of president Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria.

The Kaczynski couple were among 96 people, most of them Polish dignitaries, killed in a plane crash in Russia last Saturday on their way to a World War II memorial service.
About 17,000 flights in European airspace yesterday were cancelled due to the cloud of volcanic ash, said Eurocontrol, which coordinates air traffic control in 38 nations.

A normal Saturday would see 22,000 flights in Europe. Eurocontrol said only about 5000 were able to operate.

Out of 337 scheduled flights by U.S. carriers to and from Europe, 282 were cancelled yesterday, according to the Air Transport Association.

The impact is likely to exceed the airspace shutdown after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the International Civil Aviation Organisation said.

Justifying the widespread airport closures, aviation officials have explained that aircraft engines could become clogged up and stop working if they tried to fly through the ash.

In the past 20 years, there have been 80 recorded encounters between aircraft and volcanic clouds, causing the near-loss of two Boeing 747s with almost 500 people on board and damage to 20 other planes, experts said.

Ash could stay all week

Winds blowing the massive cloud eastward from Iceland to Russia will continue in the same direction for at least two days and could go on until the middle of the week, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said today.

“The ash will continue to be directed towards Britain and Scandinavia,” Teitur Arason, a meteorologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

“That’s the general situation for the coming days… more or less for the next two days or maybe the next four or five days,” he said.

The volcanic ash cloud is heading towards Greece as it moves further south as well as east into Russia, Britain’s meteorological group the Met Office said.

Economic fallout huge

The International Air Transport Association meanwhile has warned of the economic fallout from the volcano eruption in southeast Iceland.

According to their figures it’s costing airlines more than $200 million a day.
Test flights carried out by KLM

Air France-KLM is carrying out test flights to see whether the skies are clear enough to fly again. On Saturday a Dutch KLM plane flew over the Netherlands and inspections revealed that the motors had not be damaged by volcanic ash.

Meanwhile another KLM plane has flown from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Düsseldorf with crews on board to fly back stranded planes from the German airport.

If there are no problems the airline hopes to be given the go ahead to resume passenger flights. Much of European air space has now been closed for four consecutive days.

The chief of Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest airline, has criticised the closure of the skies. Air Berlin says up to now the closure has been based on computer simulations and calculations. Not a single weather balloon has been let up into the sky to measure whether there is volcanic ash above Germany.

German meteorologists say laser beams indicate the presence of volcanic ash at heights between 1.86 and 4.35 miles.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online


July 2020


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