Remember last April when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano shut down airspace in 34 countries? While it’s not the same volcano, Iceland has another ash cloud to deal with this week and it’s heading in our direction.
We’re hoping this doesn’t become a yearly tradition, erupting volcanos, grounded flights, travel havoc, etc. But as the ash cloud continues to spread, heading in towards the UK, it’s not looking promising. Airspace over Iceland, an important section for transatlantic flights, is currently closed and will remain so for at least the rest of today (Mon May 23/2011). The culprit is Grimsvotn, the country’s most active volcano which is at the heart of Iceland’s biggest glacier. It has been erupting since Saturday night, spewing ash almost 20km up into the air.
Eurocontrol, in charge of Europe’s air safety, said that flights in the UK would not be impacted in the next 24 hours and the only passengers that would likely be effected are those with flights to Iceland. The ash cloud is however expected to hit Britain, especially Scotland, by tomorrow if wind and weather conditions remain the same and airlines have been warned to take precautions. The ash cloud is currently reaching Ireland and could reach as far away as France and Spain by Thursday.
Last year’s closures were the worth in aviation history since the Second World War, costing the travel industry an estimated £130 million per day.
Currently all flights to/from Keflavik and Reykjavik International Airports are cancelled until further notice. If you have plans to travel to Iceland in the following days, contact your airline.