Thursday, April 15, 2010

Air Freight Shipping Suspended Across The UK

Icelandic Eruption Causes Flight Chaos
Shipping News Feature

UK – Air freight traffic, along with many passenger services, has been brought to a standstill today by the cloud of volcanic ash which is currently sweeping across the atmosphere after the recent volcanic disturbances in Iceland. Glasgow, Belfast, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are currently closed. Many flights from Manchester, Gatwick , Stansted and Birmingham are currently suspended and Luton and Heathrow are also likely to be affected.

At least 500 people were forced to evacuate the surrounding areas and flights were diverted, after the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, Iceland’s fifth largest, erupted without warning late last month. After almost 200 years of inactivity, the volcano awoke, spewing lava and ash and raising fears the shock might awaken the more powerful Katla volcano. Now scientists fear the repercussions on the weather pattern in Iceland the European climate.

The Icelandic Civil Protection Department decided yesterday to lower the preparedness level by one point, from emergency to danger level, because of the volcanic eruption on the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass in south Iceland. The effect on the atmosphere however has meant a cloud of ash drifting across the ocean to directly affect British Airspace.

Scientists and meteorologists are watching the situation closely and a decision will be taken later today whether it is safe to resume flights from the different regions.

Volcanic ash ‘sandblasts ‘its way through modern aircraft engines and can cause catastrophic damage. In 1982 a BA 747 had all four of its engines stopped whilst travelling at over 35,000 feet after the massive eruption of Galunggung in Java. The plane plummeted almost 25,000 feet before the crew managed to restart the stricken aircraft averting disaster by seconds.

For European Ash Updates link here. 

See Later Stories for Updates.

Photo : Icelandic volcanic disturbance near Katla “simmering”.