Friday 23 February 2018

Irish airspace gets all clear on volcanic ash

Ed Carty

Irish airspace has the all-clear from volcanic ash for the next 48 hours, aviation chiefs have said.

Airlines have been given the go-ahead to operate in and out of Ireland's main airports after assessments of the cloud moving out of Iceland.

But the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) warned a small number of European destinations may be affected and services in and out of the country could suffer as a result.

The authority said it will continue to monitor the situation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London, Met Eireann and the Department of Transport.

Airlines, airports and European air traffic service providers are also being consulted.

The IAA said that based on weather patterns it expects Irish airspace to remain free from ash for the coming days.

Meanwhile, the volcano which grounded dozens of flights on Tuesday has stopped releasing clouds of ash into the atmosphere, according to Icelandic officials.

Grimsvotn began erupting on Saturday, releasing a cloud of rock, sand and glass towards northern Europe and causing fears over the safety of planes should the tiny particles be sucked into their engines.

There had been concerns that the cloud, which left British airspace early on Wednesday and moved over Germany, could return on Friday and cause more havoc as the bank holiday getaway began if the eruptions continued at the same rate.

But the situation appeared to be improving later on Wednesday morning as Icelandic officials confirmed the volcano had stopped releasing ash, and was only blowing out steam.

Hrafn Gudmundsson, a meteorologist at the Icelandic met office, said: "There are indications that it's ceasing. There's no plume detected since 3pm and the last plume was around 2pm.

"Since then there seems to be mainly steam coming from the crater."

There is no guarantee this marks the end of ash eruptions from the volcano, but the development was described as "positive".

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