21-Apr-2010 10:19 AM

Ash Attack: European Air Navigation Service Providers' updates

EUROCONTROL: 75% of the European continent is free of flight restrictions. The areas operational include: Austria, the Balkans, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, southern France, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Romania, northern Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

Eurocontrol forecast 13,000 flights were made in European airspace on 20-Apr-2010, compared with a typical figure of 28,000. More than 95,000 flights had been cancelled since 15-Apr-2010, with more than 300 airports and 8.0 million passengers affected (Reuters, 20-Apr-2010).

Air traffic control services are still not being provided to civil aircraft in significant parts of the lower airspace primarily in north-western Europe, including Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden and the UK. Air traffic control services are being provided with very significant restrictions on the number of flights authorised, and/or the routes and flight procedures to be followed, in several parts of the lower airspace in north-western Europe, including Germany and northern France. [more]

CANSO: Praised European air traffic control organisations for their "swift, sensible and safe" approach to opening up European airspace, stressing that the level of cooperation between different aviation sectors was "unprecedented”. [more]

CANSO: “I want to congratulate Air Traffic Control organisations for their swift, sensible and safe response to the need to open up as much airspace as possible, while still ensuring flight safety. European airspace is the busiest and most complex in the world and we are seeing an unprecedented degree of cooperation between the various aviation companies to get airplanes moving,” Graham Lake, Director General. Source: Company statement, 20-Apr-2010.

Individual ANSPs:

  • ANS Czech Republic: Airspace opened at 1200 on 20-Apr-2010, under monitoring in relation to EUROCONTROL airspace zoning data. [more]
  • Austria Control: Airspace opened at 0300 on 20-Apr-2010 (AP, 20-Apr-2010).
  • Avinor: No restrictions in Norwegian airspace expected until 0800 on 21-Apr-2010. [more]
  • Belgocontrol: Airspace reopened at 0800 on 20-Apr-2010, with 50% of airspace capacity to be used initially. [more]
  • DFS: Announced the reopening of airspace around Hamburg and Bremen at 2300 on 20-Apr-2010, under 6,000m. Lower airspace in the rest of Germany will, for the time being, remain closed for IFR flights. But the weather forecast suggests that it may be possible to lift further restrictions soon. [more]
  • DSNA: Majority of French airspace open to limited traffic. 100% long-haul operations and 60% medium-haul operations expected to operate on 21-Apr-2010 (AP, 20-Apr-2010). French airports now open to limited traffic. The government hopes 100% of long-haul flights and 60% of medium-haul flights will run Wednesday. French airspace is still under restrictions and operations are subject to ongoing evaluation of conditions.
  • Finavia: Airspace opened above 9,500m to international overflights. Other air traffic restrictions will remain until 0900 on 21-Apr-2010. The occurrence of ash is increasing in Finnish airspace below 900m. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency is considering possible traffic restrictions for flights operated under visual flight rules. [more]
  • Hungarocontrol: Ended all limitations for flights in Hungarian airspace on 20-Apr-2010. [more]
  • Irish Aviation Authority: Resumption of full service on a phased basis in all Irish and UK airspace from 2100 on 20-Apr-2010. Restrictions in Irish airspace are subject to Zone 2 limitations, as per EUROCONTROL guidelines. Lifting of the restrictions is subject to the ash cloud, presently positioned between Iceland and Ireland, not moving over Ireland and no further aggressive volcanic activity. Full service by the airlines may take up to three days to resume. Following the agreement of the European Transport Ministers, the Irish Aviation Authority, UK Civil Aviation Authority and UK NATS have agreed on a safe model to allow operations to resume in both countries. [more]
  • LPS Slovakia: Airspace opened at 1440 on 20-Apr-2010 with no restrictions. [more]
  • LFV: Airspace from Strömstad to Stockholm and further south is closed as of 2000 on 20-Apr-2010. This means the airspace over Arlanda, Skavsta, Gothenburg and Malmoe is closed. In this block, aircraft will not be permitted to take off or land. The airspace north of Arlanda is still open. En-route flights at higher altitudes over the south of Sweden will be permitted.[more]
  • NATS: Most restrictions on UK airspace were lifted fro  2134 on 20-Apr-2010, following guidance from the UK Civil Aviation Authority on restrictions to UK airspace. Air traffic control services have resumed in the UK with the exception of an area over north-west Scotland, which continues to be affected by a dense concentration of volcanic ash. The situation continues to be dynamic as a result of changing weather conditions. [more]
  • NATS: “This brings to an end a period of disruption and uncertainty for air passengers. Our operation is fully staffed and already responding to the backlog of flights entering UK airspace. We will be working with the airlines and airports to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” Company statement, 20-Apr-2010.
  • PANSA: Airspace to reopen from 0700 on 21-Apr-2010 (AP, 20-Apr-2010).
  • Turkish Civil Aviation General Directorate: Airspace below 6,000 m opened from 1615 on 20-Apr-2010 (Today’s Zaman, 20-Apr-2010). No airspace closures are expected in Turkey on 21-Apr-2010.
  • UK Met Office: Acknowledged the decision by the UK CAA to change the engine tolerance levels for the safe levels of ash ingestion into aircraft engines. Met Office and NERC aircraft have observed volcanic ash in UK airspace at varying heights. Observations have recorded ash in the skies across the UK, including southern Britain. Balloon observations have shown a 600m deep ash cloud at an altitude of 4,000m across parts of the UK. [more]
  • UK CAA: Issued a new guidance allowing a phased reintroduction from 2200 of UK airspace which is closed due to the ash plume. Some no-fly zones will remain where concentrations of ash are at levels unsafe for flights but are very much smaller than the present restrictions. The Met Office advise that the no-fly zones do not cover the UK. [more] UK Civil Aviation Authority confirmed all UK airports have been given the green light to reopen. [more - UK Airports]

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