Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2010 Contents Airlines
The rst week of May saw renewed
closures of European airspace,
with many Irish and UK ser vices
cancelled because atmospheric
levels of volcanic ash exceeded
concentrations agreed in April as
safe for turbine engine operations.
For Asian carriers, services to Europe had
encountered cancellation or extreme delays during
April, following the initial eruption of Icelandic
volcano Eyja allajokull.
Much of Europe's airspace remained aircra -free
for six days as the ash plume spread across Scandinavia,
the UK, Ireland, and much of the continental
mainland, as far south as the Mediterranean. While
aircra are routinely routed round such phenomena,
the possibility of encountering volcanic ash over
Europe appears never to have been anticipated,
despite Iceland's geology.
An International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) document, Manual on Volcanic Ash,
Radioactive Material and Toxic Chemical Clouds,
graphically details the dangers.
Following loss of all power on a British Air ways
Boeing 747 almost 30 years ago, subsequent strip-
down inspection revealed "general evidence of
'sand-blasting', erosion of compressor rotor paths
and rotor-blade tips, erosion of high-pressure (HP)
rotor-blade [leading edges] and fused volcanic debris
on HP nozzle guide vanes and turbine blades". e
engines had been re-started only because the aircra
happened to enter clear air. " e seriousness was not
lost on the aviation community," says ICAO.
After last month's airspace restrictions were
removed, airlines quickly accused authorities of
having been over-cautious. But, simultaneously,
military operators in Finland and the UK reported
volcanic ash having been ingested into the engines of
their aircra operating over Europe during the critical
Once bitten ...
As a new ash cloud dri ed into Irish and UK airspace
on 4 May, European Union transport ministers were
agreeing plans aimed at helping to prevent further
such airspace disruption. European commissioner
for transport Siim Kallas says: "Millions of people
and businesses [must] never have to re-live the
unprecedented crisis [which saw] more than 100,000
cancelled ights and more than 10 million passengers
unable to travel."
The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) applauded, having lost revenues of US$1.7
billion in just six days, with the greatest impact felt
Volcano deals fresh blow to industry
Asian carriers operating to Europe faced possible further service disruptions in May as Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull
again released ash into the atmosphere. Ian Goold examines the industry's response to an unprecedented scenario.
16 AsianAviation | MAY 2010
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