Friday 20 January 2017

High anxiety below no-fly-zone ash sky

As planes stay grounded under ash, Arthur Max contemplates a world without aircraft

Published 21/04/2010 | 05:00

Viggo Mortensen under an ash-laden sky in a scene from the film version of Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'. Airplane-free skies may become a common sight over the coming months, say experts
Viggo Mortensen under an ash-laden sky in a scene from the film version of Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'. Airplane-free skies may become a common sight over the coming months, say experts

Even as Europe's dormant airports sputter back to life, prudent travellers and businessmen should ask: what if it happens again? Because it might -- over and over again, for weeks, perhaps months, scientists say.

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The last eruption from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull, in 1821, lasted off and on for 13 months -- but back then there were no jet engines to get clogged up from volcanic residue.

What should the world brace for if ash clouds wash over European skies intermittently for six months or a year, repeatedly closing airports with just a few hours' warning?

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