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Erupting Volcano Cancels 63,000 Flights

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, April 19, 2010 1:14 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Airline Pilots, Airline Security, Airline Engines, Airline Safety

Icelandic volcano cancels about 63,000 flights so far because of ash.
Erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Why Planes Can’t Fly


  • Uk Civil Aviation Authority Web site
  • International Civil Aviation Organization Web site


IMAGE SOURCE: The Big Picture Web site of erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano

As long as there is some detectable level of ash in the air commercial European flights will not be able to fly, according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The reason- jet engine manufacturers specify zero levels of atmospheric ash for safe flying, reports CNN.

The CAA follows guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations group that confers with the industry to draw up safety regulations.

The ICAO says that “Since volcanic ash is composed of very abrasive silica materials, it can damage the airframe and flight surfaces, clog different systems, abrade cockpit windows and flame-out jet engines constitution a serious safety hazard.”

New Developments

In the latest developments, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to cancel a trip to Finland because of the ash cloud. In that country, F-18s flying in a training mission showed “accumulations of powdery volcanic dust” in the aircraft intakes, which can melt and result in overheating and engine damage, reports CNN.

The International Air Transport Association reports the airline industry is losing about $200 million a day as long as the flight restrictions continue. British Airways is losing about $23 to $30 million every day the restrictions stay in place. So far about 63,000 European flights have been cancelled.

Aircraft have to fly through an ash level of the atmosphere to reach their destination and reportedly 5,000 flights took off Sunday in Europe, compared to about 24,000 on an average Sunday.

Miami International saw only two flights from Europe this weekend. Normally MIA has about 12 daily European flights on the weekend, reports the South Florida Business Journal.

A Russian airport will resume some flights to Europe, Israel, Egypt and Turkey, but airports in Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, and Switzerland are all closed with hopes of opening early this week as the ash cloud continues moving on.

The volcanic ash cloud came from a glacier in southern Iceland that erupted for the second time in less than a month. #

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