Report vindicates ash cloud airspace caution

By Doug Newhouse |

A new scientific report produced one year after ash clouds grounded 10m travellers in April 2010 appears to back those experts who feared for the safety of aircraft that could have been exposed to the ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

An Icelandic-Danish team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen has discovered that the composition of the ash was significantly small, sharp and hard enough to cause meltdowns inside passenger jet engine turbines, leading to total failure inflight.

The report – published by the team in the PNAS journal – simply concerns itself with whether or not engine damage would potentially be sustained and not the politics of money surrounding whether or not total air space closures were necessary.

The ash clouds last April resulted in the unprecedented total or partial closure of up to 80% of Europe’s airspace for six days between April 14-21, causing a very significant -13.5% decrease in air traffic at European airports.

MINIMAL EUROPEAN SALES LOSS OF $119M
In April, European DF&TR airport sales fell -14.2% compared to April 2009, an amount equal to a loss in sales of E.81.7m ($119m) , according to Generation Research. But this did not include the lost sales from passengers due to fly into European air space from outside, after their flights were cancelled at non-European airports. 

The scientific findings and analyses of the Icelandic-Danish team can be found at the following link for those who are interested, technically minded, or both:www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/04/22/1015053108″

 

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