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ACS on standby as Icelandic volcano rumbles

Intense seismic activity has been recorded at Iceland’s Barðarbunga volcano over the past couple of days, leading to concerns that there might be a repeat of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash cloud of 2010, putting all involved in aviation on high alert.

Leading aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service, is one of those concerned parties. Justin Lancaster, ACS’s Commercial Director, said: “The last time this happened the ash cloud that was created shut down most of Europe’s airspace for six days. It is estimated that more than 10 million passengers were affected at the time, so we’re hoping that this is not a repeat. 

“Four years ago some of our staff were sleeping in the office, as the phones were ringing non-stop with people whose scheduled flights had been cancelled and who were trying to get to their destinations. We were working closely with them around the clock to find the best solutions – whether that be flying to the edge of the no-fly zone for them to get land or sea transport home, or to plan flights for when the ash cloud finally lifted.” 

The aviation threat level was raised to ‘orange’ on Monday 18th August following the strongest earthquake that the region had experienced since 1996 but, as yet, there are no signs of an eruption.

“Whilst we are standing by to assist our clients where required, we are also anxious as to the impact that such an incident could have on our partner airlines’ and their schedules. In 2010 it is estimated that airlines lost almost two billion dollars as a result of the cancellation of 100,000 flights.

“And of huge concern”, Lancaster concluded, “is that the current wind patterns forecast for the coming days would indicate that any ash cloud would blow over northern Europe, as it did last time.”

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