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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid