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Posts Tagged ‘ash’

Fear of volcanic ash cancels flights to Jakarta

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

Indonesia issues flight warning as volcano spews ash

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

Indonesian volcano spews heat clouds, ash

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 4:41 am

New volcano ash flight rules bring hope for airlines

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 at 9:03 am

LONDON (AFP) – British aviation regulators bring in measures Tuesday to reduce the airspace closures fiercely criticised by airlines, as European skies were hit by new shutdowns caused by volcano ash clouds.

A view showing heavy clouds over dwellings set near the Eyjafjoell volcano in Iceland. AFP photo

Plumes of thick ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, which in April shut down much of Europe’s airspace for a week last month, drifted over the continent Monday, closing major airports and cancelling some 1,000 flights.

Britain, the Netherlands and Ireland closed airspace, with London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest air hub, and Amsterdam-Schiphol among those affected.

Airlines, which have lost millions of dollars due to the ash alerts, have expressed their fury with what they viewed as unnecessary restrictions introduced by overcautious safety watchdogs.

In a bid to keep the skies open for business, British aviation regulators introduce new measures from midday Tuesday that will to allow flights in thicker ash than previously permitted for a certain amount of time.

The new area — called a “Time-Limited Zone” — was created after discussions between regulators and manufacturers, said regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Experts believe high concentrations of volcanic dust can damage plane engines and even cause crashes.

But a CAA statement said: “Aircraft and engine manufacturers… have agreed that it is safe to allow operations in the new zone for a limited time.

“This means that areas of our airspace that would have previously been closed can safely open, further minimising disruption.”

To operate in the new zone, airlines must present regulators with a safety case which includes the agreement of the manufacturers, said the CAA.

This had already been achieved by British airline Flybe, which will be allowed in the zones from midday.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh led the attack on Monday’s flight restrictions, labelling them “a gross over-reaction to a very minor risk.”

His criticism was echoed by KLM after the disruption to Dutch airspace.

“The closure was unnecessary. The flight control service should have first measured the concentration of ash and then took a decision,” said KLM spokeswoman Joyce Veekman.

Irish airline Ryanair attacked the computer-generated projections used by safety authorities to work out the no-fly zones, saying they were insufficiently detailed.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “It is frankly ridiculous that the flight plans of millions of air passengers across Europe are being disrupted on a daily basis by an outdated, inappropriate and imaginary computer-generated model and it is time that these charts were done away with.”

The international airline industry body, IATA, has estimated last month’s shutdown — Europe’s biggest since World War II — cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros).

Eurocontrol, the intergovernmental agency coordinating air traffic control, said around 1,000 flights in Europe were cancelled by Monday’s ash alert.

In the Netherlands, some 500 flights into and out of Amsterdam-Schiphol were axed after it was shut for seven hours until re-opening at 1100 GMT. Some 60,000 passengers were left stranded around the world by the closure.

London Heathrow and London Gatwick were also hit by a new round of delays and cancellations following a six-hour shutdown early Monday.

In Ireland, Dublin airport reopened at midday (1100 GMT) after a 17-hour shutdown as the cloud moved east. Almost 300 flights were cancelled, disrupting 36,000 passengers, The Irish Times newspaper said.

In Iceland, there was no sign of the volcano stopping.

The Eyjafjoell eruptions, which began on April 14, have peaked three times, with the latest surge of activity coming Friday.

“There is really no way of telling when it will stop… magma is still emerging,” Icelandic geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said.

Source: SGGP

London airports reopen after ash shutdowns

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

LONDON (AFP) – London’s main airports Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around Britain remained shut.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, reopened at 07:00 am (0600 GMT) as did Gatwick.

Staff hand out folding chairs to passengers as they wait for information at Manchester Airport. Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around the country remained shut. AFP photo

However restrictions remained on flights because of their proximity to a dense section of the shifting ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland.

Airports inside the no-fly zone were shut until 1200 GMT with all airports in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to remain closed until then.

Scotland’s busiest airport, Edinburgh, plus Aberdeen and Inverness were closed while Wales’s main airport Cardiff was shut, as was Swansea.

In England, Bristol in the southwest and Farnborough, southwest of London, were also closed until 1200 GMT.

In the Netherlands meanwhile, the authorities announced the closure of the airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam from 6:00 am (0400 GMT) to 2:00 pm Monday.

The latest ash closures came at the beginning of a week where air travel disruption was already expected due to a five-day strike by British Airways cabin crew set to kick off Tuesday.

Europe’s skies were partially closed for up to a week in April following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, in the biggest shutdown of the continent’s airspace for more than 50 years.

Experts fear the volcanic ash can damage jet engines and create a serious risk of a crash.

“There is slightly increased activity for the past two days, there has been some ash fall around the glacier,” Bjoern Oddsson a University of Iceland vulcanologist told AFP.

“The column (of smoke) has increased and rises up to eight kilometres (five miles),” as opposed to six kilometres in previous days.

But its effect on European flights depended entirely on the winds, he added.

NATS also ordered the closure of several smaller airports around London and southeast England early Monday.

But they allowed restrictions to be lifted in northern and central England, from 0000 GMT after the ash cloud drifted south and away from their airspace.

That allowed Manchester Airport, the busiest outside London and among the 20 busiest in Europe, to reopen after several hours’ closure Sunday. Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds-Bradford also reopened.

In Scotland, as Prestwick prepared to reopen Aberdeen Airport, further northeast, was set to close. Airports in the Western Isles and along Scotland’s west coast remained shut.

Earlier, aviation regulators in the Republic of Ireland extended a closure of Dublin airport by three hours to at least 1100 GMT Monday. The airport closed at 1800 GMT Sunday.

The other two main airports, Cork and Shannon, remain open until further notice, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.

Of the smaller hubs, Donegal was to remain closed until at least 1100 GMT, while Ireland West (Knock) and Sligo were to reopen at 0800 GMT.

Kerry is open until further notice, while Galway and Waterford would reopen at 0500 GMT Monday.

North Atlantic flights crossing Irish airspace would not be affected, said the IAA.

The latest shutdowns drew renewed attacks from the aviation industry, which has been hard hit by the ash cloud chaos.

The international airline industry body, IATA, has estimated last month’s shutdown cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros, 0.7 billion pounds).

Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson branded Sunday’s closure of Manchester Airport as “beyond a joke”.

“We need strong leadership to intervene to avoid doing further unnecessary damage to the UK economy and lives of travellers,” he 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 between the capitals Monday to answer an expected surge in demand.

Source: SGGP

Ash cloud shuts Spain, Morocco airports, reaches Turkey

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

MADRID, May 11, 2010 (AFP) – A volcanic ash cloud from Iceland forced the shutdown Tuesday of airports for the first time in north Africa and in the Canaries and southern Spain, as it drifted as far as Turkish airspace.

While most European air travel was “close to normal” on Tuesday, the continent’s air traffic agency Eurocontrol said, restrictions and airport closings caused flight cancellations as winds pushed volcanic ash in the atmosphere into some new territory.

Passengers wait near information screens displaying cancelled flights at the Reina Sofial airport on the touristic Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife on May 11, 2010. AFP photo

Eight airports on Morocco’s north and west coasts, including Rabat and Casablanca, were shut down, the first time the cloud of ash that has caused air traffic chaos in Europe over the past month has affected north Africa’s airspace.

Casablanca — the hub of operations for Royal Air Maroc — was to cease operations until 1800 GMT, together with the smaller airport in the capital Rabat, the transportation ministry said in a statement.

Flights into and out of Tangiers, Tetouan, Essaouira, Agadir, Tan-Tan and Guelmin were also halted until 1800 GMT, the ministry said.

By mid-day in Spain, air traffic control agency Aena had given the all-clear to reopen four airports that were shut down earlier in the day on the Canary islands of Tenerife and La Gomera and at Badajoz in southwest Spain.

But the airports on the Canary Island of La Palma, and at Seville and Jerez in southern Spain remained closed.

In all, some 180 flights were cancelled in Spain as of 0900 GMT, Aena said.

Spain has also imposed overflight restrictions at altitudes between 20,000 and 35,000 feet (6,000 metres and 10,600 metres) in the skies over Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, Aena said.

The cloud of volcanic ash which affected Turkish airspace last month returned Tuesday forcing flight bans up to an altitude of 20,000 feet over the Dardanelles Strait and the country’s European corner for four hours from 1200 GMT, the General Directorate of State Airports said in a statement on its website.

The major international airport at Istanbul however remained open.

“At the moment, there is nothing affecting Istanbul. We do not have a critical situation in our hands,” a directorate spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Iceland’s volcanologists explained that the ash in Europe’s skies is left over from previous weeks and can travel around in the atmosphere due to winds.

“We really don’t know when it will settle down. So even if the volcano stops, we can look at this problem for a couple of weeks after,” said Bjoern Oddsson of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Iceland University.

Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano began erupting on April 14, releasing ash that last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, affecting more than 100,000 flights and eight million passengers over a week.

Ash had continued off and on to plague Europe’s air travel and force flight cancellations for fear the ash could enter the plane’s engine with fatal results.

On Tuesday a Ryanair flight from Belfast to London was forced to turn back shortly after taking off Tuesday because of an “oily smell” in the cabin, the low-cost airline said.

Ryanair was unable to say whether the plane was one of two grounded on Sunday because of technical problems and later found to have volcanic ash in their engines.

Eurocontrol said in a statement it expected about 29,000 flights within Europe’s skies on Tuesday. It also gave an optimistic outlook for transatlantic flights which have faced major delays in recent days, saying high ash concentration was dispersing at high altitudes in the middle of the North Atlantic.

As for the ash cloud’s further direction, Eurocontrol said it could move across the Iberian peninsula into southeast France but that “these areas (of high ash concentration) are of high altitude and are not expected to impact airports.” 

Source: SGGP

Europe faces fresh flight disruptions from ash cloud

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

LISBON, May 10, 2010 (AFP) – The return of a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland was expected to force the cancellation of hundreds of flights Monday but airports reopened in Portugal on the eve of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI.

About 500 fewer flights would take to the skies in Europe on Monday because of the ash cloud, which would also force transatlantic planes to fly lengthy detours, European air traffic agency Eurocontrol said in a statement.

A plane takes off from Vienna Airport on May 10, 2010 in Schwechat some 25 kilometer east from Vienna. AFP photo

Lisbon airport, where Pope Benedict XVI is due to arrive on Tuesday for the start of a four-day visit, reopened Monday at 9:00 am, four hours ahead of schedule because the ash cloud had moved away “more quickly than expected”, civil aviation authority NAV spokeswoman Sofia Azevedo told AFP.

The airport in the northern city of Oporto also reopened as did all seven airports in neighbouring Spain, including at Bilbao and Santander, which were closed on Sunday because of the risk posed to engines by the ash.

But Eurocontrol warned that during Monday afternoon “areas of higher ash concentration could move in a north-easterly direction from the Atlantic into the Iberian Peninsula”, leading to fresh flight disruption in Spain and Portugal.

Elsewhere airports reopened in Austria, England, Germany, Ireland and Scotland, except for the airport at Barra island in the west.

But transatlantic flights were suffering delays, especially those departing from London’s Gatwick airport.

A Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick to Orlando in Florida that should have departed at 11:15 am was delayed until 4:15 pm while another flight to Las Vegas was pushed back to 5:45 pm from 11:25 am.

Flights to Canada and the Caribbean were also suffering delays.

No airports were closed in Bulgaria on Monday but officials in the country said there was a risk that the ash would affect its skies later on Monday.

The eruption of the Eyjafjoell volcano on April caused travel chaos worldwide, with airspace closed over several European nations for a week last month because of 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 and eight million passengers affected.

Recent images have shown activity in the volcano intensifying.

Experts at Britain’s Met Office said Sunday it was sending ash up to heights of 30,000 feet (9,100 metres). 

Source: SGGP

New ash risk closes British, Irish airspace

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 8:36 am

LONDON, May 5, 2010 (AFP) – Britain and Ireland were closing parts of their airspace Wednesday after a fresh cloud of ash arrived from the Icelandic volcano that caused air travel chaos in Europe last month.

British regulators ordered an airspace shutdown over parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland from 7:00 am (0600 GMT) for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

Passengers wait at Belfast City Airport as flights are delayed due to volcanic ash in Northern Ireland, on May 4, 2010. AFP photo

“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,” said Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“Unfortunately, this means that the CAA anticipates all Scottish and Northern Ireland airports will be closed from 07:00 local time (Wednesday).”

According to meteorologists, the cloud over Britain had “increased in density as ash emissions from the Icelandic volcano… have become stronger,” said the air watchdog in a statement.

Irish aviation chiefs meanwhile said restrictions would be introduced at some airports from 8:00 am (0700 GMT).

The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, which caused 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 CAA said some Scottish airports, including Glasgow, would likely be closed for 12 hours until 7:00 pm (1800 GMT).

In Northern Ireland, Derry airport would shut down early Wednesday for 12 hours, and airports in Belfast would only close later in the day, said the air safety watchdog.

Other airports were also at risk of closure, including Edinburgh and some in the northwest of England, said the regulator.

But regulators did not indicate that the ash was an imminent threat to airports further south, including London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest air hub.

In Ireland, restrictions would be brought in from 8:00 am (0700 GMT) at airports in the northwest, followed by Dublin at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

After a cloud from the Iceland volcano last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, ash once again grounded flights in British airspace late Monday.

Aviation chiefs grounded flights over the Outer Hebrides, a group of islands off Scotland’s northwest coast, before extending the flight ban to Northern Ireland for several hours early Tuesday.

The Irish Aviation Authority also grounded flights into and out of Ireland for several hours Tuesday.

Both air authorities cleared flights to resume from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), but new restrictions for Wednesday were announced just several hours later.

Tuesday’s airspace closures came on the same day European Union transport ministers met in Brussels to discuss last month’s shutdown as the new ash cloud hovered over Ireland.

A notable absence was Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey — unable to fly to the meeting because of the new ash cloud chaos.

Meanwhile Irish airline Aer Lingus said the flight ban last month had cost it about 20 million euros (26 million dollars), 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 62 million pounds (94 million dollars, 72 million euros).

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.

Source: SGGP

Volcanic ash returns to parts of Britain, Ireland

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 8:34 am

Irish airports are due to reopen for normal operations from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) after a six-hour closure due to ash from an Icelandic volcano, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said Tuesday.

An IAA statement said it had cleared Irish airports to open for full operations from 1300 hrs local time (1200 GMT).

Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Knock, Donegal, Waterford and Kerry may resume normal operations.”

Smoke and ash billowing from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano in April 2010. Irish airports are due to reopen for normal operations from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) after a six-hour closure due to ash from an Icelandic volcano, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has said.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said airspace over Northern Ireland — a British province — would be closed from 0600 GMT.

The flight cancellations should not disrupt aircraft overflying Ireland from Britain or Europe, or southern British airports including Heathrow, Europe’s busiest air hub, authorities in the two countries said.

The cloud of ash came from the eruption of Iceland‘s Eyjafjjoell volcano, whose drifting dust was behind last month’s shutdown that left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded across the globe.

Airspace was re-opened after about a week following emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

The IAA said all flights into and out of Ireland would be grounded from 0600 GMT to 1200 GMT Tuesday due to the dangers posed by the new volcano cloud.

“The decision is based on the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds,” said the authority in a statement.

It added that “over-flights of Ireland from the UK and Europe will not be impacted tomorrow. Flights in mainland Europe will operate normally.”

Information from the London-based Volcanic Ash Advice Centre (VAAC) suggested that the ?no fly-zone’ would affect Dublin and other airports across the country, said the IAA.

Hundreds of flights were due to depart and fly into Dublin airport throughout the day, with more from Shannon and Cork in the south of the country and Ireland’s smaller regional airports.

Ryanair said it had cancelled all flights into and out of Ireland between 0500 GMT and 1300 GMT Tuesday.

“The first wave is clearly one of the busiest parts of the day so it will have a fairly significant effect on the operation tomorrow,” airline spokesman Stephen McNamara told the BBC.

Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus said it had cancelled all British and European flights scheduled to depart and arrive into Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast airports before 1200 GMT Tuesday.

The international airline industry body, IATA, said last month’s shutdown cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.1 billion pounds) and called on governments to pick up at least part of the cost, angered by their handling of the crisis.

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic control coordinator, 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.

Source: SGGP

New volcanic ash bound for Britain and Denmark: agency

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

TOULOUSE, France, April 20, 2010 (AFP) – A fresh cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland’s erupting Eyjafjoell volcano will pass over Britain and Denmark but spare France, the European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) said Tuesday.

Passengers wait to complete check-in formalities at Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam on April 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

Air traffic has begun to return to normal in parts of Europe almost a week after ash from the eruption drifted south and forced aviation authorities to close the airpace over several European countries.

But a new cloud of ash is expected to arrive on Tuesday, and Britain in particular is expecting further disruption.

“Given the meteorological conditions, the volcanic ash should pass over the southern part of the North Sea, the British Isles, Denmark, Scandinavia and perhaps the extreme north of France,” said forecaster Didier Rosenblatt.

The VAAC in the southern French city of Toulouse is one of nine volcanic ash advisory centres around the world tasked by the International Civil Aviation Organisation to track possible threats to flights from eruptions.

Source: SGGP