Icelandic volcano casts pall over Europe

ANOTHER Icelandic volcano has erupted, sending a growing cloud of ash into the atmosphere. The eruption of Grímsvötn volcano, 400km from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, has sparked fears that Europe will see a repeat of last year’s disastrous airspace closures, when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, that crippled European aviation for over a week.

So far the cloud does not appear to be as severe as last year’s, but the industry and European governments are monitoring the situation closely.

Victoria Moores, spokesperson for the Association of European Airlines in Belgium, told Air Cargo News: “We’re very hopeful that we’re not going to see the same kind of blanket closures of airspace as last time. The feeling is very much that the industry is now much better equipped to handle the situation.

“There were quite a few lessons learned from [last year’s] crisis. We have new computer software – the Evita system – to model the ash cloud; there has been a simulation with the airlines; and we have a new crisis cell, the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC). The EACCC brings together a group of stakeholders – the European Commission, Eurocontrol [the European organisation for the safety of air navigation], the European Aviation Safety Agency and the various airline associations – to discuss and monitor the situation.”

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