UK AIRSPACE RE-OPENS
Flights from UK airports will be able to resume from 22.00 this evening BST.
Much of the UK airspace will re-open in phases, the Department for Transport said.
“Most of the skies over the UK has been closed to commercial airliners due to the volcanic ash plume over the UK.
“There will continue to be some ‘no fly zones’ where concentrations of ash are at levels unsafe for flights to take place, but these will be very much smaller than the present restrictions.”
The Civil Aviation Authority made the ruling to lift restrictions following increasing pressure from airlines.
The CAA will continue to monitor the situation with tests both in the air and on the ground.
“It will take time for flights to settle down to normal timetables. If you are hoping to travel, you should contact your airline before travelling to the airport,” the DoT said.
There will continue to be some ‘no fly zones’ where concentrations of ash are at levels unsafe for flights to take place, but very much smaller than the present restrictions, according to the CAA.
The Met Office advice is that ‘no fly zones’ do not currently cover the UK.
“Making sure that air travellers can fly safely is the CAA’s overriding priority,” the authority said in lifting the ban after five days.
“The CAA has drawn together many of the world’s top aviation engineers and experts to find a way to tackle this immense challenge, unknown in the UK and Europe in living memory.
“Current international procedures recommend avoiding volcano ash at all times. In this case owing to the magnitude of the ash cloud, its position over Europe and the static weather conditions most of the EU airspace had to close and aircraft could not be physically routed around the problem area as there was no space to do so. We had to ensure, in a situation without precedent, that decisions made were based on a thorough gathering of data and analysis by experts.
“This evidence based approach helped to validate a new standard that is now being adopted across Europe.
“The major barrier to resuming flight has been understanding tolerance levels of aircraft to ash. Manufacturers have now agreed increased tolerance levels in low ash density areas.”
“Our way forward is based on international data and evidence from previous volcanic ash incidents, new data collected from test flights and additional analysis from manufacturers over the past few days. It is a conservative model allowing a significant buffer on top of the level the experts feel may pose a risk.”