Ryanair Rejects “Nonsensical” Report Justifying Volcanic Ash Airspace Closures over Europe
Ryanair, Europe’s favourite airline, today (27 April) rejected the nonsensical report allegedly prepared by “Icelandic and Danish scientists” and released over the Easter weekend, which claimed to justify the closure of vast swathes of Continental European airspace in April and May 2010, because of a volcanic eruption in Iceland.
Ryanair pointed out that at no stage did it object to the closure of airspace over a limited radius (say 50 miles) around the Icelandic volcano, where clearly a safety threat of volcanic ash existed. However what Ryanair and most other EU airlines complained about was that there was no evidence of any volcanic ash over large swathes of the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal or indeed the Canary Islands, which suffered repeated airspace closures because of bureaucratic bungling and political incompetence which unnecessarily disrupted the travel plans of millions of EU citizens.
Ryanair called on these Icelandic and Danish “scientists” to explain how aircraft routinely fly around volcanic eruptions in Alaska and South East Asia, without any threat to air safety (where the regulations apply a “no fly” zone of typically 20 to 50 kms around any volcanic eruption). Ryanair believes that this is a safe and sensible safety measure. However there was no justification for the closure of airspace over locations such as the Canary Islands which was more than 3,000 kms removed from the volcanic eruption in Iceland and where there was no evidence of any volcanic ash whatsoever.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“These brilliant “scientists” in Iceland and Denmark should perhaps explain where exactly they obtained the samples of volcanic ash for their analysis? Did they find it up a mountain in Iceland or on a beach in the Canary Islands? Perhaps when these scientific geniuses have finished publishing misleading reports on Easter Sunday, they could explain why flights in Alaska or South East Asia are allowed to operate safely, even during periods of volcanic activity, by simply establishing 30 or 50 kms no fly zones, yet last year during a volcanic eruption in Iceland, airspace was closed 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 kms away from this volcano, with no evidence of volcanic ash, but lots of evidence of scientific bungling and regulatory mismanagement.
“This report which appears to have been leaked over the Easter weekend was clearly designed to cover the embarrassment of these bungling scientists and the regulators who completely cocked up and mismanaged the closure of much of Europe’s airspace during April and May 2010 when there was no threat to air safety anywhere except over Iceland”.