Monday 23 October 2017

Air travel fears ease as Iceland's volcano stops spewing ash

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

FEARS about further air travel disruption receded yesterday when the Icelandic volcano at the centre of the scare stopped spewing out ash.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said the ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano would have no impact on Irish airspace over the next few days.

And the authority said the medium-term weather forecast indicated there would be no change to the current position.

"Based on the information available at this point in time we do not anticipate ash-related disruption," the IAA said.

All Irish airports will remain open over the weekend.

However, passengers heading for the UK and other parts of Europe could be affected over the weekend if remaining ash has not dispersed.

But the British Met Service said the long-term forecast was positive, with little ash expected after the weekend.

The ash particles from Grimsvotn, which had almost stopped erupting early yesterday, are also larger than those from Eyjafjallajokull and so fall to the ground more quickly.

Flights continued as normal at Dublin Airport yesterday, with only one Ryanair flight to Germany cancelled. All Aer Lingus services operated normally yesterday, and the IAA said it will continue to monitor the situation.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said a test flight they conducted showed no damage as a result of flying through the volcanic ash cloud red zone.

"The simple answer is we found nothing," he said.

Mr Walsh insisted that it was safe to fly in certain circumstances based on detailed risk assessment using multiple reliable sources of data and in co-operation with the regulators.

His remarks follow criticism by Ryanair's Michael O'Leary of the restrictions on flights through Scottish airspace.

Irish Independent

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