Iceland’s volcano shuts down European airspace

Volcano Apr10.pngMany chemical industry executives will be grounded for at least the next 24 hours, as a major volcanic eruption in Iceland is shutting down airspace in most parts of NW Europe this afternoon.

UK and Scandinavian airspace is totally closed as a result of the eruption, pictured above. The dust cloud contains minute particles of silicate, which can seriously damage aeroplane engines. Experts suggest the problem is likely to spread across northern Europe, given prevailing wind conditions. Already main airports in France are closing, with Germany and the Low Countries expected to be affected soon.

The cloud is drifting at 18000 – 33000 feet (5500 – 10000 metres) and not thought to represent a threat to human health. The UK’s air traffic control service said it was “the worst airspace restriction in living memory”. It seems unlikely that the airspace will re-open for at least 24 hours.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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One Response to Iceland’s volcano shuts down European airspace

  1. Jemima Maroney 20 April, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    It’s a unfavorable time for the air travel sector, but our thoughts – even though the images of the volcano are really spectacular – really have to be with the men and women marooned very far from home.Thanks for your write-up.

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