Monday, April 19, 2010

Hopes Rise for UK Flight Resumption

Eyjafjallajökull ash cloud 17 April 2010. Flight with the Icelandic Coast Guards. 
Photo: Matthew J. Roberts. This phase of the eruption is declining. 
Courtesy: Icelandic Met Office

Ash Plume Subsiding
Hopeful Flights to Resume

According to NATS, "the volcanic eruption has reduced and the volcano is not currently emitting ash to altitudes that will affect the UK. Assuming there are no further significant ash emissions we are now looking at a continuously improving situation".

This hopeful news comes none too soon as Day 5 of the flight grounding  continues.  The grounding is costing millions of dollars a day to an already over-taxed industry, stranding tens of thousands of passengers each day, and  interrupting the flow of other commerce.  Even for those that were able to reach their holiday destination, returning home may become so stressful as to have a nullifying effect on the rest and relaxation enjoyed during the vacation.

Based on the latest information from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until 0700 (local time) tomorrow, Tuesday.

From 0700 (local time) tomorrow, Tuesday, Scottish airspace will be open, and south to a line between Teesside and Blackpool. Mainland Scottish airports will be open.

(UPDATE) As quickly as hopes rise, they fall.   The airline industry recommends that the aircraft should not be subjected to ash.   The latest update from NATS, based on MetOffice data is as follows:

Since our last statement at 1530 today, the volcano eruption in Iceland has strengthened and a new ash cloud is spreading south and east towards the UK.  This demonstrates the dynamic and rapidly changing conditions in which we are working.  

We will continue to monitor Met Office information and the situation is likely to change overnight.  We will make a further statement at approximately 0300 (local time), tomorrow, Tuesday 20 April and again at 0900 (local time).    

I won't repeat the links here, so please consult my previous column, Europe Travel Woes Continue, if you are searching for  updates on your cruise or for other links covering this volcanic eruption.

EUROCONTROL - Updates on European air traffic situation (select date/time and click more)

Cruise lines are operating on schedule for the most part, with some minor itinerary changes.  The lines are working directly with affected passengers in attempts to salvage their cruise vacations.   Where that is not possible, they are working to rebook passengers for alternate cruises.   Passengers that cancel will be subject to normal cancellation polices and should consult with their travel insurance companies regarding compensation.   Polices would have to be in effect prior to the volcanic event to be covered according to insurance spokesmen.

Related Blog Posts:

Europe Travel Woes Continue

Erupting Volcano Grounds Flights



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