Apr 19

From the BBC News website…  this map shows today’s ash situation… does not look too good as far as trans Atlantic flights from the States to Northern Europe and vice versa, but I am hearing that some trans Atlantic services are resuming (see @AirlineRoute  for updates). 

However, it looks like the European travel situation should be getting better tomorrow, as the EU replaces a blanket ban on air travel with a more focused and layered approach.  European air space will be divided into sectors described as “no fly zones,” “limited service zones,” and “open airspace,” based on the amount and dispersion of ash from Iceland’s volcano, according to the BBC.  I get the first and last categories, but I don’t know that I would want to go on a flight in the “limited service zones” – does this mean they are sorta safe?   In a press release issued today, Eurocontrol (the air traffic agency for the EU) had this to say… 

  

“…while the initial reaction by the States was prudent and reduced risk to an absolute minimum, it was now time to move towards a harmonized European approach (set out below) that permitted flights – but only where safety was not compromised… Accordingly a limited “No-fly zone” will be established by the States concerned, based on forecasts from the VAAC. EUROCONTROL will provide the data and the forecast to States every 6 hours.  Aircraft Operators will be permitted to operate outside this zone. In their decision as to whether to fly, they will be supported by shared data including advice from the scientific community (meteo, volcanic ash proliferation etc.) – including safety assessments supported by tests under the oversight of the competent Safety Authorities.  The conference also concluded that, in time, it should be possible to move towards an approach in which full discretion is given to Aircraft Operators.” 

Earlier today, a mislabeled webcam in Iceland led to false news reports of yet another volcano erupting.   Turns out that it was the same volcano continuing to erupt.  D’oh! 

Looking for some stories and advice from the people affected by this whole mess?  Searching for #ashtag on Twitter yields a fascinating real time look at what’s going on – and makes you glad not to be traveling…”

Oh, and by the way, here is how (and how not to) pronounce the name of the Icelandic volcano… 

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