13-Jun-2011 8:22 AM

Ash Cloud from Chilean volcano enters New Zealand Airspace

Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand stated air travel could by disrupted by more than a week from the volcanic ash from the CordónCaulle volcano in southern Chile, which has spread across New Zealand airspace (Radio New Zealand/NZPA, 13-Jun-2011). Dozens of domestic and trans-Tasman services have been grounded by the ash cloud, including most Jetstar and Qantas services. However, CAA stated New Zealand's air space does not need to be completely closed at the moment as the ash is trapped in the stratosphere and the airspace below that is viable for operations, if airlines decide to fly. Air New Zealand stated it does not expect delays or cancellations, with the carrier operating with changed flight paths and altitude levels where necessary, although the carrier stated it may be forced to start cancelling services on 13-Jun-2011. The carrier stated it would not put on extra aircraft to accommodate passengers from airlines that have stopped operations. Around 60 domestic and trans-Tasman flights were cancelled by other airlines on 12-Jun-2011. Qantas has grounded all trans-Tasman flights until at least 12:00 today. Cathay Pacific stated services are operating to schedule to/from Auckland. [more - Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand] [more - Cathay Pacific]

Air New Zealand: “The ash has travelled a great distance at high altitude and remains present at distinct altitude bands between 20,000-35,000 feet. As a result, where required aircraft will fly at a lower altitude of 18,000 feet to remain below the ash or operate a slightly different course," Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan, general manager of airline operations and safety. Source: Bloomberg, 13-Jun-2011.

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