Volcanic ash – GOVT, IATA and BA statements

Back to Forum

This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Potakas 20 Apr 2010
at 16:01

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

  • Anonymous


    Brown says airlines, individuals should be compensated

    Britain said on Monday European funds should be made available to compensate airlines and other travel firms who have lost millions of dollars in revenue from the closure of airspace because of a volcanic ash cloud.

    “I believe that this is one of the most serious transport disruptions that we have faced,” Brown told reporters.

    “I am very clear that this is a shared European problem and he (Barroso) is very clear that there should be a shared European approach and I hope that we can see the European solidarity fund or other funds used to help not just airlines but people who have been stranded,” Brown said.

    Britain is also in discussion with Spain about creating a “hub” in Madrid to bring Britons home from Europe and beyond.

    “We have large numbers of travellers who are caught in Asia and America and the main route home that is available at the moment is through the airports that are open in Europe and that is in Spain.

    Brown said he had held talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero

    “He has offered in principle the use of Spanish airports as a hub for bringing people back to Britain.”

    “We are very conscious that speed is of the essence here. We hope to have reached agreement with the Spanish in the next few hours about what can be done.”

    Tom Otley


    IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.

    Re-Think of Volcano Measures
    -Governments Must Base Decisions on Fact Not Theory-

    19 April, 2009 (Paris) — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sharply criticized European governments for their lack of leadership in handling airspace restrictions in light of the Icelandic volcano eruption and urged a re-think of the decision-making process.

    “We are far enough into this crisis to express our dissatisfaction on how governments have managed it—with no risk assessment, no consultation, no coordination, and no leadership. This crisis is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business. In the face of such dire economic consequences, it is incredible that Europe’s transport ministers have taken five days to organize a teleconference,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

    “Governments must place greater urgency and focus on how and when we can safely re-open Europe’s skies. This means decisions based on risk-management, facts and utilizing operational procedures that maintain safety,” said Bisignani.

    IATA criticized Europe’s unique methodology of closing airspace based on theoretical modeling of the ash cloud. “This means that governments have not taken their responsibility to make clear decisions based on facts. Instead, it has been the air navigation service providers who announced that they would not provide service. And these decisions have been taken without adequately consulting the airlines. This is not an acceptable system particularly when the consequences for safety and the economy are so large,” said Bisignani.

    “Safety is our top priority. Airlines will not fly if it is not safe. I have consulted our member airlines that normally operate in the affected airspace. They report missed opportunities to fly safely. The European system results in blanket closures of airspace. I challenge governments to agree on ways to flexibly re-open airspace. Risk assessments should be able to help us re-open certain corridors, if not entire airspaces,” said Bisignani.

    To assist governments in assessing risk, airlines have conducted successful test flights in several European countries. The results have not shown any irregularities or safety issues. Airlines are also exploring various operational measures to maintain safe operations. These include day flights, restrictions to specific flight corridors, special climb and descent procedures, and more frequent detailed boroscopic engine inspections to detect damage.

    The scale of airspace closures currently seen in Europe is unprecedented. “We have seen volcanic activity in many parts of the world but rarely has it resulted in airspace closures—and never at this scale. When Mount St. Helens erupted in the US in 1980, we did not see large scale disruptions, because the decisions to open or close airspace were risk managed with no compromise on safety,” said Bisignani, who urged Eurocontrol to establish a volcano contingency centre capable of making coordinated decisions.

    Bisignani called for an urgent meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the specialized agency of the UN, to define government responsibility for the decisions to open or close airspace in a coordinated and effective way based on real data and special operating procedures.

    Tom Otley



    Analysis of British Airways’ trial flight yesterday through parts of the no-fly zone established by the airspace authorities has revealed no variations in the aircraft’s normal operational performance.

    Prior to the flight, and in order to formally establish its condition, BA Engineering at London Heathrow conducted a full survey of the aircraft structure and engines.

    These inspections included the aircraft radome, wing and stabiliser leading edges, flight deck windshields, passenger windows, sensors and probes, landing lights and engine inlets. Digital images of each of these items were taken to ensure a full comparative assessment of the hardware could be conducted once the flight had been completed.

    Borescope inspections of each engine, including the compressors, combustor, vanes and turbine were also conducted on each engine position. A number of engine oil and fuel filters, together with aircraft recirculation fan and equipment cooling filters were also replaced. This would ensure that the engineers could assess any debris that had been captured during the flight.

    In order to assess fully the performance of the aircraft in the suspected area of contamination, the flight was conducted at various altitudes and geographic locations. At each condition and after a period of stabilisation, the performance of the aircraft was closely monitored by the flight crew and observers.

    Particular attention was paid to the performance of the engines, the presence of any acrid odour build up within each zone of the cabin, the condition of the wing and aerofoil surfaces together with the condition of the windshields and passenger windows. No deterioration or odours were observed throughout the flight. In addition to the above, Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer, monitored the performance of the engines from their base in Derby in real time.

    Following the successful conclusion of the flight, the aircraft returned to BA’s aircraft maintenance facility in Cardiff for detailed after-flight checks.

    These included full re-inspection of the aircraft structure and a re-borescope of the engines. All these checks showed no deterioration from that previously recorded at London Heathrow. The engine oil and fuel filters have been removed for analysis by Rolls-Royce.

    Playback of the aircraft flight data recorders has also been carried out at the engineering base in London. Analysis of this data has indicated that all four engines performed without fault for the duration of the flight. The data also indicated that the performance of the engines had not suffered any deterioration as a result of the flight.

    Commenting on the technical report on the performance of British Airways’ trial flight yesterday, British Airways’ Chief Executive Willie Walsh said:

    “The analysis we have done so far, alongside that from other airlines’ trial flights, provides fresh evidence that the current blanket restrictions on airspace are unnecessary.

    “We believe airlines are best positioned to assess all available information and determine what, if any, risk exists to aircraft, crew and passengers.

    “Since airspace was closed on Thursday our assessment is that the risk has been minimal and can be managed by alternative procedures to maintain the highest safest standards.

    “We call on the Government urgently to adopt new policies that would allow us to resume flying. Safety is the overriding priority for an airline. We use our expertise in risk assessment across a wide range of safety issues to make decisions on the safe operation of flights every day.

    “We believe that we should be allowed to take the same responsibility over safety issues over the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland.”

    Tom Otley



    An analysis of Air Traffic Control organisations by CANSO, the global voice of Air Traffic Management, shows that globally the sector is losing up to 25 million Euros each day from the closure of European airspace.

    Graham Lake, Director General of CANSO, said:

    “Our Members are losing 25 million Euros every day in this crisis, which will have a significant impact on investment decisions for the future if we are not assisted by European emergency funds. Air Traffic Control is a fixed-infrastructure business: when planes don’t fly we still have to maintain all our equipment and staff at a state of readiness. For safety reasons, an Air Traffic Control company cannot go ‘bust’ – any losses we incur will have to be recovered from airlines, the travelling public, or the taxpayer. Contingency funds at European level exist to help in situations like this. We hope they will be deployed to ensure that jobs and investment in European Air Traffic Control are not cut.”


    CANSO – The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation – is the global voice of the companies that provide air traffic control, and represents the interests of Air Navigation Services Providers worldwide.

    CANSO members are responsible for supporting over 85% of world air traffic, and through our Workgroups, members share information and develop new policies, with the ultimate aim of improving air
    navigation services on the ground and in the air. CANSO also represents its members’ views in major regulatory and industry forums, including at ICAO, where we have official Observer status.


    British airspace will start to reopen to flights from 0600 GMT on Tuesday after levels of volcanic ash from Iceland declined, UK air traffic controllers said today.

    Airspace in Scotland and northern England will open first and restrictions in the rest of England and Wales may be lifted later on Tuesday, the national air traffic control body said.

    “This is a dynamic and changing situation and is therefore difficult to forecast beyond 0700 (BST) local.

    It is now for airports and airlines to decide how best to utilize this opportunity.”

    NATS said it would issue a further update at 2000 GMT on Monday. British airspace was closed last Thursday because of fears that the volcanic ash could cause planes’ engines to fail.

    Hopefully Lito will come home 🙂


    BA statement,

    Last updated 13:45 – 20 April 2010

    Following the latest information from NATS (National Air Traffic Service) about the path of the volcanic ash affecting UK airspace, we regret we have:

    cancelled all shorthaul flights on Tuesday 20 April

    cancelled all longhaul flights, departing from the UK, Tuesday 20 April

    cancelled longhaul flights, arriving into the UK, before 12:00 UK local time Wednesday 21 April


    BBC Weather’s Matt Taylor warned ash blown away from Europe could cause problems for Canada instead.

    “Weather conditions should be more favourable by the end of the week,” Matt Taylor said.

    A new high-pressure system will form in the Atlantic by the weekend.
    “The wind should change to the opposite direction: it could start to disperse some of the stuff that has been blown over from Iceland,” Mr Taylor said.

    “As we move from Friday into the weekend, we will start to see south and south-westerly winds. Even if there is any fresh eruption, the ash should not be blown over the UK.”

    The weather pattern should continue to blow the ash cloud away into next week, Mr Taylor said.

    But a respite for the UK and Europe means bad news elsewhere as the prevailing wind is more easterly north of Iceland.

    “It means that ash will circulate over north-east Canada and the North Atlantic,” Mr Taylor added.

    However ash will continue to fall on Europe. “It is up there in the atmosphere, and factors like gravitational pull and rainfall will bring it back down.”

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below