21 April 2010

The impact on aviation of the volcanic eruption in Iceland

I have been trying to monitor the impact on aviation of the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and the virtually unprecedented shutdown of European airspace. This post links to some of the resources that I have been using. Some of the web sites are enjoying unprecedented popularity and their performance is suffering accordingly. I have also found Twitter (I use the free program TweetDeck) useful - search for #ashtag.

The eruption itself can be seen on three webcams set up in Iceland. Of course, this is daylight and weather dependent.

Maps with live air traffic over Europe (the advice is use any web browser except MS Internet Explorer) can be seen at:
The official news about airspace availability can be seen on the web sites of:
Specific information on the ash cloud is released by the UK Met Office Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

On 19 April 2010 IATA commented on the situation and released an assessment that the likely daily revenue loss to airlines of being grounded would be in excess of US$200m per day. ACI Europe and CANSO have made similar estimates for the daily financial impact on airports and air traffic control providers respectively.

Because of the uncertainty about the event, scenario analysis provides useful way of thinking about the impacts. A series of articles from Reuters by Peter Apps are the best I have seen so far:
This truly is a "Black Swan" event (see previous post) and may prove to be a real test of concern about safety versus concern about the economic survival of the European airline industry.

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