Ash clouds from Iceland’s spewing volcano have disrupted air traffic across Northern Europe as authorities closed Dutch air space, shut down Europe’s busiest airport at Shiphol and canceled hundreds of flights.
KLM airline suspended all flights until at least Monday 20.00 hours, according to a spokesperson for the company. KLM has decided on the basis of the information they received from the authorities.
Test flights offered hope that Europe’s skies may be safe for air travel, but officials made no promises that disruptions due to volcanic ash are about to go away.
It’s still a risk for aviation, because the ash cloud caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland, remains over the European continent with the current weather conditions. The CAA, the Military Aviation Authority, Air Traffic Control Netherlands, the KNMI decided together to close Dutch airspace until further notice. The Dutch airspace has been closed since Thursday 18.00.
Schiphol has updated its website informing more cancellations are expected at Schiphol. The ash cloud continues to spread southward, causing more cancellations.
The ash cloud is moving very slowly with a speed of about 40 km toward southeast Netherlands.
The volcano under Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland is still active and shot again a huge cloud of smoke and ash on Saturday, compared with previous days.
Dozens of flights to the United States were on hold, and cancelations spread across the continent to major hubs at Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva and Paris, where flights heading north were canceled until midnight.
How long the problems with the eruption of the volcano in the Icelandic glacier Eyjafjallajökull will last is unknown. A spokeswoman. for the Icelandic aviation authorities, Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, believed that only the weather gods know whether it will last a few days or a few years.
Volcanic ash clouds are a serious hazard to aviation, reducing visibility, damaging flight controls and ultimately causing jet engines to fail.
Below is a list of the most known incidents in air space from volcanic ashes.
On June 1982, a British Airways aircraft, en route from London to Auckland in New Zealand, flying at 11,000 meters altitude in a cloud of ash that was spewed by the Indonesian volcano Galung Gang. All four engines of the unit fall out. The plane is down until 4100 meters altitude and the crew gets the engines running again. The plane then makes an emergency landing in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. Nobody gets hurt.
A KLM plane, en route from the airport to Tokyo on December 1989, flying in Alaska through a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt. The dust clogged the four engines that suddenly fail. The crew succeeded in restarting the engines. The aircraft landed safely in Anchorage, Alaska. The repair of the engines cost about 60 million Euros.
The Mount Pinatubo volcano in Philippines erupts on June 1991. It is the largest eruption in a few decades time. The ashes of Pinatubo caused damage to approximately twenty aircraft. Most of these aircraft flying at more than 1000 km from the volcano, according to the American Geological Institute USGS.
An ash plume created by the eruption of a volcano in the glacier Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland disrupts air traffic in the northern and western Europe in April 2010.
A historic eruption on Iceland killed thousands. On June 8, 1783, the Laki volcano erupted and remained active for eight months. Its ash cloud reached as high as 15 kilometres. The poisonous dust that rained down on Iceland killed 10,000 people, a quarter of the island’s population at the time.
Extremely hot summers and cold winters followed, causing crops to fail across Europe. In the UK alone, 23,000 people died from poisoning in the summer of 1783. In the winter that followed an additional 8,000 succumbed to hunger. In 1784, the United States had its coldest winter ever. Even parts of the Gulf of Mexico froze over. The Mississippi river was covered with ice as far south as New Orleans.
Not everyone is relaxed about the plane delays caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. An interview for a report by Sky News from Edinburgh Airport was rudely interrupted by a drunken Scotsman.
The aviation authority Eurocontrol reported Thursday that all flights were canceled in connection with the ash cloud in Iceland, which is spreading southward over Europe.
Photo by Deanster1983
by NASA Goddard Photo and Video