New Irish fly zone established minimizes volcano disruption

Irish and British create new Fly Zone

Air traffic control organizations in Ireland and Britain have created a new fly zone to limit the ongoing disruption being caused by the Icelandic volcano ash.

The new zone “Time Limited Zone” came into operation over Ireland and Britain at 7am (EDT) this morning. It will allow airlines to fly through clouds with a density which was previously off limits.

Dublin has been one of the worst effected airports in Europe, over the last week. Yesterday 200 flights were cancelled affecting up to 17,000 people.

The European air traffic agency, Eurocontrol, said that about 1,000 flights out of 28,000 were cancelled across Europe yesterday but that the situation is improving.

Over the last month the erupting volcano has prompted many European airports to shutdown causing travel chaos.

Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive said the closures were a gross over-reaction. He said “It can be managed and we don't need these blanket closures.”

The International Air Transport Association has said that authorities need to revise their airspace rules.

Director general, Giovanni Bisignani said "This problem is not going away any time soon. The current European-wide system to decide on airspace closures is not working.”

"Safety is always our number one priority. But we must make decisions based on facts, not on uncorroborated theoretical models."

The group said that international traffic numbers would be down by four percent in April due to the closure which will cost air carriers up to $1.7 billion.

These new plans are coming into place as the volcano, under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, in Iceland is showing no signs of abating.

Geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, of the University of Iceland, said "Our calculations indicate that when the plume rises up to six to seven kilometers, the volcano is producing 150-200 tonnes (of ash) per second.

“When it reaches eight to nine kilometers the production is likelier to be around 400 tonnes per second. There are no signs of the eruption slowing down yet."