Irish, Scottish airports reopen as ash heads west

Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 19:49

Dublin: All airports in Scotland and Ireland
reopened Thursday after the latest engine-wrecking ash cloud from
Iceland`s volcano drifted west back into the Atlantic.

The latest threat from Iceland`s Eyjafjallajokul volcano
caused two days of runway shutdowns and flight cancellations
in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland,
inconveniencing an estimated 100,000 travelers. Irish and
British airlines launched extra services today to help get
them on their way.

The volcano has regularly belched out ash since its
eruption began April 13, and European air authorities
initially reacted April 14-20 by shutting down all air
services in several countries to the east, stopping 100,000
flights and 10 million passengers.

This time, newly negotiated European safety rules
restricted the aircraft grounding to Britain and Ireland and
involved more precise closure orders based on how close the
densest ash clouds were to airports` landing and takeoff
paths.

Until Eyjafjallajokul stops its emissions, the key to the
future course of Europe`s ash crisis will be the prevailing
winds that guide the ash clouds at altitudes of 10,000 to
20,000 feet.

When the Atlantic winds blow to the northeast toward the
unpopulated Arctic, the typical pattern in springtime, the
danger to aircraft is minimized. But when they shift
southward, as happened this week and in mid-April, airlines`
ability to land and depart safely is jeopardized.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 19:49

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