Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ash Continues But Some Planes Fly

North America & Europe Flights   Courtesy: BBC

Limited Flights Allowed

The picture above, courtesy BBC, shows a snapshot of the airspace between the U.S. and Europe.   The red zone is the predicted ash cloud pattern which is still blanketing much of the region.   Some flights were permitted to take to the skies, mainly flying above the ash cloud or in areas not currently in the wind patterns.

Classifying  the situation regarding the volcanic eruption in Iceland as "dynamic" NATS made the following statement:

Based on the latest Met Office information, part of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports will continue to be available from 1300-1900 today, and also south to Newcastle Airport. Restrictions will remain in place over the rest of UK airspace below 20,000ft.

Overnight the CAA, in line with new guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) decided flights above the ash cloud will be permitted in the UK; between 1300-1900 this will enable aircraft movements above 20,000ft in UK airspace.

Please consult the following websites for the latest updates:

MetOffice             EUROCONTROL          National Air Traffic Control Service (Nats)

BBC News Article:   Europe starts to resume flights

While there was good news for a few airports across Europe,  London's Heathrow International Airport, the main hub in Europe, remained closed posting the following notice on their website:

Flights suspended until further notice
Last updated: 09:55 BST, Tuesday 20 April 2010
Based on advice from NATS, all flights to and from Heathrow remain suspended until further notice.

EU Officials continue to work on a solution for this growing problem.   Every day the planes remain grounded costs millions of dollars and further extends the recovery period.   

The Cruise Line industry has also been impacted by this natural disaster in many ways.   Passengers have been stranded at airports and unable to join their cruises;  others have not been able to return home following their cruises;   crew members have also suffered the same fate;   there have been long hours for everyone involved in keeping the cruise ships moving.  This is a logistical nightmare not seen in this magnitude since the September 11th terrorist attacks.  

This time of year is typically when the cruise lines reposition their ships from the Caribbean to Europe.   Some have departed already for those journeys while a few will be leaving in the next several days.   Cunard has regularly scheduled crossings between New York and England.   As of this past weekend, there had been some availability on those cruises, and the cruise line's reservations systems were flooded with calls, both from people seeking passage as well as passengers looking for assistance.   Most Trans-Atlantic crossings in the next month are currently sold out and wait-listed.    Cunard indicated that the wait-list had over 1,000 names for example.

Related Blog Posts:
Consult the following for links to Airports, Cruise Line Announcements and other Agencies

Europe Travel Woes Continue

Erupting Volcano Grounds Flights


We will continue to monitor this situation and bring you updates on significant events.   Between posts, please use the links provided for latest information.

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