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Lift Volcanic Ash Flight Ban—Multinationals

Posted by feww on April 19, 2010

Sacrificing Sanity for Money

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption Status:

  • Currently erupting with the ash plume reaching a height of about 7.5km
  • A large pocket of ash is drifting toward Europe


Volcanic Ash Advisory from London Met Office – Issued graphics – Received at 06:36GMT on 19 April 2010


Above is an illustration of volcanic ash dispersion up to 20,000 ft, issued at 7 pm on 18 April. Advisory charts are issued every six hours, for up to 18 hours ahead, by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Latest updates and advisories from UK Met Office –

Last updated: 20:26GMT on Sunday, 18 April 2010

… because of the worsening volcanic activity UK airspace has now been closed until 7am Monday.

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano is still erupting and weather patterns continue to blow volcanic ash towards the UK. Over the weekend, Met Office observations have detected dust in the atmosphere and on the ground. A research aircraft has recently encountered dust during its flight, albeit in fairly low concentrations

Decisions on flights and airline movement is controlled by National Air Traffic Services (NATS).

We will continue to produce forecasts of the ash cloud and will assess the impact into the week in consultations with CAA and NATS.

“We’re losing money, besides our test flights didn’t fall out of the sky.”

Europe’s air industry as well as a large number of international corporation have demanded an urgent removal of flight bans imposed because of ash from Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Siding with the corporate paymasters, EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas is on record as saying that the “unprecedented situation” was “not sustainable” and that European authorities were working to find a solution.

“We cannot just wait until this ash cloud dissipates,” Siim Kallas was reported as saying.

Airspaces in 21 European countries were closed or partially closed as of posting.

According to the International Airports Council, ACI, about 313 airports had been completely or partially shut down because of the no-fly ban with an international  backlog of 63,000 canceled flights representing just under 7 million air travelers [Fir earth estimates are 78,000 flight and 14 million passengers.]

The airports are hit by a double whammy because they no longer just places where planes take off and land; they are colossal shopping malls, targeting the air travelers. On a per passenger basis, the airports are making more money than the airlines. [In case you ever wondered why you have to go to the airport 3-6 hours before your flight and walk 12 km to board the plane…]

Why is volcanic ash do dangerous?

Volcanic ash is composed of small tephra, or tiny bits of pulverized glass and rock that are created by volcanic eruptions. The particles are usually accompanied by several gases including sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is mixed with water in the air and converted into droplets of sulfuric acid and other substances that are harmful to the plane. Volcanic ash is potentially deadly to aircraft and their passengers. It poses three types of danger to aircraft by way of:

  • Clogging the engine and causing engine failure
    • Clogging the fuel and cooling systems
    • Melting in the hot parts of the engine, and fusing on engine components thereby causing loss of engine thrust that could lead into a flame out, shutting down the engine
    • Breaking the blades and other sensitive components inside the turbine
  • Causing physical damage to various parts of the plane including abrasion of engine parts, the airframe, as well as control and steering mechanism
  • Reducing visibility

What about the test flights?

Dutch and German airlines as well as British Airways have carried out “test flight” within the no-fly zone at altitudes of about 30,000ft (9.1km) on Saturday and Sunday, apparently without any visible damage to the planes.

The most obvious dangers of such recklessness are that the concentration of airborne ash particles is neither uniform, nor constant. The impact of ash on the plane may vary depending on several factors including continued activity at the volcano, which produces more ash as the time goes by, wind pasterns and others.

High concentrations of ash may exists in air pockets that the previous test flights avoided, or changing wind patterns could increase the concentration of ash in an air route within minutes.

Airlines are desperate because, in addition to losing money for each flight canceled [they claim the ban is costing them $200million each day,] their stock values are taking a nosedive, too. In fact some of the major carriers could lose by as much as 10 percent of their share values by Tuesday.

Why Airlines Might Prefer Crashing their Planes…

Do airlines prefer crashing their planes, rather than having them idle on the airport tarmacs? The arithmetic is simple: If an airline crashes a plane, insurance will pay.  If the planes sits on the tarmac, they lose money.

Countries that have been impacted

The Airspace in the following countries are fully closed:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, UK

Airspace partially closed:

Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday); Norway (2 -3 airports closed); Bulgaria (only a few airports are open); Poland (half dozen airports, including Warsaw, are open); Sweden (northern airports are now open); France (southern airports have now opened)

NO airspace restriction:

Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine

Carriers that have canceled flights to Europe on Monday:

China Airlines of Taiwan, Cathay Pacific,  Japan Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Thai Airways and Korean Air.

Related Links:

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One Response to “Lift Volcanic Ash Flight Ban—Multinationals”

  1. BRL said

    [FAT CHANCE! Moderator]

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