Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mail it in Tuesday: Volcanic Ash May Cancel Hundreds of Flights

Airlines clashed with regulators and pilots Tuesday as passengers braced themselves for days of uncertainty and chaos caused by a volcanic ash cloud being blown across the British Isles.

Britain's weather service said the ash from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano had moved over parts of Scotland, prompting air regulators to warn airlines that they had to seek permission to fly to and from the area. Hundreds of flights were canceled in Britain and Ireland.

Spokesman Barry Grommett said volcanic ash had been detected on the ground in Scotland, and a specialist laser based on the Shetland Islands northeast of the Scottish mainland had also detected ash in the atmosphere.
"All the data we are receiving confirms our forecasts, that there is high-density ash over Scotland," Grommett said. Experts say that particles in the ash could stall jet engines and sandblast planes' windows.

Irish budget airline Ryanair immediately challenged the results. It said it had sent its own airplane into Scottish airspace and found no ash in the atmosphere. read more - via USAToday

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