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European Air Navigation Service Provider updates

20-Apr-2010 11:13 AM

EUROCONTROL stated (19-Apr-2010) air traffic control services are not being provided to civil aircraft in most of European airspace. This includes Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, northern Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, parts of Ukraine and the UK. In some of these areas, the upper airspace has been made available, depending on the observed and forecasted area of possible ash contamination. However, it is difficult to access this airspace as in most cases the surrounding area is not available for flights.

8,700 flights were conducted in European airspace on 19-Apr-2010. Approximately 600 trans-Atlantic flights take place each day, 300 in each direction. Of the 300 flights that would usually arrive in Europe, 219 flights arrived in Europe on 19-Apr-2010 and 233 have left Europe.

EUROCONTROL held a conference with the European Commission, several European states, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and technical experts which concluded that, while the initial reaction by the states was "prudent and reduced risk to an absolute minimum, it was now time to move towards a harmonised European approach that permitted flights, but only where safety was not compromised". A limited no-fly zone will be established by the states concerned, based on forecasts from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London. EUROCONTROL will provide the data and the forecast to states every six hours. Additionally, the ICAO European and North Atlantic Office are organising a meeting to consider the effects on the North Atlantic. [more - EUROCONTROL]

CANSO welcomed the decision by European air traffic control organisations to recommend resuming flights on 20-Apr-2010 as  “welcome news for airlines and passengers around the world”. CANSO estimates that the air traffic control sector is losing up to EUR25 million per day from the closure of European airspace. [more] [more - Losses]

CANSO: “Our Members are losing EUR25 million every day in this crisis, which will have a significant impact on investment decisions for the future if we are not assisted by European emergency funds. Air Traffic Control is a fixed-infrastructure business: when planes don’t fly we still have to maintain all our equipment and staff at a state of readiness. For safety reasons, an Air Traffic Control company cannot go ‘bust’ - any losses we incur will have to be recovered from airlines, the travelling public or the taxpayer. Contingency funds at European level exist to help in situations like this. We hope they will be deployed to ensure that jobs and investment in European Air Traffic Control are not cut.” Graham Lake, Director Genera. Source: Company statement, 19-Apr-2010.

CANSO: “Indications are that European airspace will start to reopen on Tuesday morning, which is welcome news for airlines and passengers around the world. But we should caution that it will take several days for operations to return to normal. The precise extent to which European airspace will be opened is also still subject to individual government approval." Graham Lake, Director General. Source: Company statement, 19-Apr-2010.

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its support for the decision by the European Commission to resume air traffic in parts of continental Europe. A gradual, cautious return of operations is reliant on the track of the volcanic ash cloud which is being monitored closely. FAA is continuing to work with the EU and is sharing technical information and guidance based on previous experience managing weather and volcanic events that have affected US airspace. [more - FAA]

UK Met Office reported (19-Apr-2010) eruptions from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano are weaker than they were at the weekend, but eruptions still take ash to over 10,000 ft at times. Weather patterns continue to blow clouds of ash towards the UK. The UK Met Office is the North-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for eruptions in its area. [more - UK Met Office]

Individual ANSPs:

AENA: All Spanish airspace and airports under control of AENA reopened from 15:30 on 19-Apr-2010. Resumption of operations at airports that were closed will be gradual throughout the afternoon of 19-Apr-2010, with Barcelona resuming operations at 19:00-20:00.

ANS Czech Republic:  Czech airspace reopened from 12:00 on 19-Apr-2010. En-route operations above 7,450 m permitted with no restrictions. Czech airspace to remain open for 48 hours as a temporary measure. [more - ANS Czech Republic]

Austro Control: Airspace partially reopened from 17:00 on 19-Apr-2010. The majority of flights to Western and Northern Europe remain cancelled. [more - Austro Control]

Avinor: All Norwegian airspace reopened as of 19-Apr-2010, except to the offshore installations in the North Sea. Forecasts indicate that most of Norwegian airspace is now outside of the cloud of volcanic ash. Airspace is not fully operational to all routes, with some restrictions on the type of traffic permitted to operate. [more - Avinor]

Belgocontrol: Airspace to remain closed until 08:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Belgian State Secretary for Mobility decided to prolong the closure of the Belgian airspace. IFR flights are not authorised. VFR flights below 4.500 ft are authorised from 19-Apr-2010 during daylight hours. [more - Belgocontrol]

DFS: Lower airspace in Germany is expected to remain closed for IFR traffic until 14:00 on 20-Apr-2010. This also applies to upper airspace in northern Germany, which is expected to be closed until 08:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Based on current meteorological data, DFS cannot issue clearances for IFR flights in lower airspace (up to 6 km), while upper airspace (between 6 and 12 km) is restricted in northern Germany. Airports in Frankfurt, Berlin, Erfurt, Leipzig and Hannover were earlier permitted to operate limited services until 20:00 on 19-Apr-2010. Berlin Tegel and Berlin Schonefeld airports were permitted to operate until 2400. [more - DFS]

DSNA: Airspace corridors to Paris to be progressively opened from 08:00 on 19-Apr-2010 (Reuters, 19-Apr-2010).

EANS Estonia: Airspace closed for IFR traffic until 09:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Tallinn local airspace expected to be to air traffic up to FL200, from 03:00 on 20-Apr-2010. [more - EANS]

ENAC: Northern Italian airspace closed at 07:00 on 19-Apr-2010 after a temporary opening of two hours (AP, 19-Apr-2010). Airports expected to remain closed until 08:00 on 20-Apr-2010.

Finavia: Airspace to remain closed until 06:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Restrictions at Helsinki and Turku airports in place until 08:00. Tampere-Pirkkala Airport reclosed on 19-Apr-2010 from 24:00, to be reopened from 12:00 on 20-Apr-2010. VFR flights permitted below 900 m. [more - Finavia]

Hungarocontrol: Airspace restrictions re-enforced from 02:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Hungarian airspace had been reopened above 7500 m to flights at 15:00 on 19-Apr-2010. Budapest FIR was opened, with some restrictions on airspace. [more - Hungarocontrol]

Irish Aviation Authority: Will reinstate air traffic services from 05:00 on 20-Apr-2010, facilitating a phased return to normal operations by airlines. Any return to operations by airlines will be dependent upon the airspace zoning, aircraft positioning and backlogs. A return to full airline operations is expected to take several days. Flights in Irish airspace likely to be grounded for most of the remainder of the week (Irish Times, 19-Apr-2010). Trans-Atlantic operations are expected to be resumed earlier than eastbound services into Europe. [more - IAA]

LFV: Airspace from Strömstad to Nyköping and further south is closed to take-off/landings.  Airspace north and west of the Stockholm to Gothenburg flight corridor opened on 19-Apr-2010. Airspace around Arlanda, Bromma and Gothenburg Airports is open. The airspace south of this is closed at lower altitude. En-route flights at higher altitudes permitted. LFV stressed decisions regarding restrictions in Swedish and European airspace are based on the latest meteorological reports as well as decisions taken in agreement with EUROCONTROL. [more - LFV] [more - restrictions]

LPS: Slovak airspace reopened from 14:40 on 19-Apr-2010. Commercial air operations permitted in Bratislava FIR under certain conditions and dependent on the situation evaluations by the Slovak MET Institute. [more - LPS]

NATS: Scottish airports should be available from 07:00 on 20-Apr-2010 and more airspace over England may become available from 13:00, although not as far south as the main London airports. Situation for Northern Irish airports for the morning is uncertain, due to a new ash cloud. [more - NATS] [more - UK CAA]

Naviair: Airspace partly open for flights above 6,000 m. All Danish airspace below 6,000 m remains closed until at least 14:00 on 20-Apr-2010. Naviair is awaiting supplementary procedures for a safe and efficient air transport from EUROCONTROL. [more - Naviair]

PANSA: Take/off landing permitted at four Polish airports, including Warsaw (Dow Jones, 20-Apr-2010).

ROMATSA: Airspace fully reopened from 21:00 on 19-Apr-2010 (AFP, 19-Apr02010).

Skyguide: Swiss airspace reopened on 20-Apr-2010 from 08:00, under order of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA). [more - Skyguide]

Slovenia Control: Airspace fully opened from until 02:00 on 20-Apr-2010. [more - Slovenia Control]

Turkish Civil Aviation Directorate: Airspace between 20,000 ft and 35,000 ft closed until 12:00 on 19-Apr-2010 (Xinhua, 19-Apr-2010). Airspace North of Istanbul affected.