18-Apr-2011 9:57 AM

easyJet update on volcanic ash AVOID system

easyJet stated (15-Apr-2011) it is making progress on its AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) system and called upon the aviation industry to work together to avoid further disruption in European airspace from future volcanic activity. The LCC's call comes a year after the Apr-2011 ash cloud crisis, which closed European aerospace for a week. The AVOID system is a weather radar for ash. AVOID uses infrared technology that is fitted to aircraft to supply images to pilots and an airline’s flight control centre. The images enable pilots to see an ash cloud, up to 100km ahead of the aircraft and at altitudes between 5000ft and 50,000ft, thus allowing them to make adjustments to the plane’s flight path to avoid any ash cloud. On the ground, information from aircraft with AVOID technology would be used to build an accurate image of the volcanic ash cloud using real time data. This would open up large areas of airspace that would otherwise be closed during a volcanic eruption, which would benefit passengers by minimising disruption. The technology is awaiting approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and easyJet is also hoping to be given financial support by the European Commission. [more]

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