Volcanic ash cloud brings flights to a halt

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  • Thousands of flights have been delayed and cancelled due to the latest volcanic ash cloud.

    The latest volcanic ash cloud has caused travel havoc resulting in the delay and cancellation of thousands of flights, especially to and from Scotland, due of the high density of ash.

    Airlines are entitled to make their own travel decisions, however, if they choose to fly through high ash concentrations they must request a license from the Civil Aviation Authority. Airlines who have decided not to fly include British Airways, KLM, Ryanair and easyJet resulting in 252 flight cancellations.

    However, Philip Hammond, the English transport secretary claims that compared to last year, there are much more robust systems in place to minimise the disruptive effect: ‘Most importantly, the basic situation now is that the threshold for most aircraft is 20 times where it was last year.’

    ‘We have got from 200 micrograms (mcg) per cubic meter to 4,000 mcg per cubic metre as the threshold up to which most aircraft can fly. What we can’t promise is that there won’t be disruption when there is a major natural event like this.’

    Flights to and from Derry, Edinburugh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Prestwick, Carlisle, Durham Tees Valley and Cumbernauls airports could be affected today, says the air traffic services company Nats.

    The volcanic ash cloud is being tracked via satellite images, weather balloons and a radar in Iceland by the Met Office’s volcanic ash advisory centre. Once feedback is given to the airlines, they must prove that they are able to fly through these conditions in order to be granted permission.

    This disruptions comes just a year after the last Icelandic volcano eruption which caused a massive number of flight delays and across Europe.


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