News / Europe

Volcanic Ash Disrupts European Air Traffic

Grounded aircraft at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland, 17 May 2010
Grounded aircraft at Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland, 17 May 2010

Air travel through British airspace, and a few points beyond, is once again being affected by a volcanic ash cloud making its way south from Iceland.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, some airports were completely shutdown.  Ireland saw some closures, as did airports in the Netherlands.

Having experienced a six-day shutdown last month, airline regulators and the aviation industry are now working more closely in refining the scope and impact of this cloud.

British Transportation Secretary Philip Hammond says all parties are learning more about how best to deal with this potential threat that could reappear in the coming months.

"My officials have been working into the night, last night, with the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] and with the aircraft engine manufacturers, trying to reach a consensus on a higher threshold operating level with an enhanced inspection regime that would allow aircraft to fly for short periods through densities of volcanic ash higher than the current threshold and to do so safely by having a proper enhanced inspection regime in place," saidHammond.

At Britain's National Air Traffic Service, they have been keeping close tabs on the size and density of the ash formation.  Operations Director Ian Hall says the shape and location of the cloud changes by the hour.

"The ash, which has been sweeping down from Iceland over the British Isles has effectively split into two areas: one affecting some of the Scottish airports, and the other one then sweeping down and around to the south of London, perilously close to Heathrow, which is landing 30 aircraft an hour instead of the normal 42 aircraft an hour, and so close to Gatwick that the aircraft are able to depart but not to land," said Hall.

About 1,000 flights have been canceled in Europe, but that is substantially less that the daily average affected last month by the ash cloud.

Throughout Monday, more airports re-opened, allowing at least some restricted flights.  But, on an individual basis, stories of frustration abound. These passengers stranded in Edinburgh say airline information has not been good.

"They do not know anything, nothing at all.  We will just come back, and, when they get their update, they might know a little bit more," said one passenger.  "We checked at 4 o'clock this morning, Edinburgh airport was still open and the flight was still scheduled, but you get here at half past six and they told us it was canceled," the passenger added.

Forecasters predict flight delays and cancelations could remain for another day, but winds are expected to move the volcanic air mass into northern Europe on Wednesday.

When it is gone, some travelers here will still face problems as the airlines cope with a backlog of passengers.

To compound matters, cabin crews at British Airways planned  to go back on strike Tuesday as part of their lengthy dispute with management, but a last-minute court ruling has stopped the strike and more conciliation talks are scheduled.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid