Air travel disrupted by fresh volcano threats in Iceland and Papua New Guinea

 

Travel correspondent

The restless earth is once again toying with travel plans, as Iceland issued two more red alerts warning of an imminent eruption and a Papua New Guinea volcano disrupted southern-hemisphere aviation.

The day began with a warning from Eurocontrol in Brussels of an earthquake in central Iceland, and the subsequent closure of airspace up to 18,000 feet in the vicinity. It said: “A danger area, within which no flights are permitted, has been established around the volcano.” 

The threat level was raised from orange to red, then downgraded shortly afterwards. But by early afternoon, the Icelandic Met Office warned of “An earthquake of M5.2 [magnitude 5.2 on the Richter scale] occurred by the northern rim of the Bardarbunga caldera” and the red alert was reinstated. It means the an eruption is imminent or already in progress, and that a significant emission of ash is likely. 

Increased seismic activity has been taking place in the area around Bardarbunga for two weeks, with airlines concerned about a repeat of the 2010 eruption. Four years ago, volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull in the south of the country wrought aviation havoc in northern Europe. Flights were grounded for up to a week because of the risk of damage to aero engines.

 

The country’s Department for Civil Protection said: “The National Crisis Coordination Center is active and the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection Phase to Emergency Phase.” 

However, a statement from the national airline said: “Icelandair does not anticipate any flight disruptions at this stage due to this activity. We are closely monitoring the situation and will advise of any schedule changes should they occur.”

The UK’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has been working on ash detection technology since the 2010 shutdown, which cost it tens of millions of pounds. An airline spokeswoman said: “Now that the Icelandic authorities have issued a red alert about the possible eruption near the Bardarbunga volcano easyJet is putting its contingency plans into action.” These include potential airborne deployment of the ash-detection technology it has pioneered.

South of the equator, a large cloud of ash from Papua New Guinea’s Tavurvur caused flights to and from Australia to divert around the eruption zone. Friday’s overnight Qantas service from Tokyo to Sydney flew an extra 100 miles in order to avoid the region.

On one of the busiest days of the year for aviation, thousands of UK passengers found their journeys disrupted. A six-hour strike by pilots working for the Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings halted flights from Heathrow to Berlin, Cologne and Stuttgart. Hundreds of BA passengers found their Florida holiday extended when the airline cancelled a Friday night departure from Orlando to Gatwick because of technical problems with an earlier Boeing 777 transatlantic flight.

Volcano Q&A

Q If my flight is cancelled because of an ash cloud, will I get compensation?

No. The EU rules stipulating pay-outs for passengers whose flights are cancelled do not apply if the cause is beyond the airlines’ control, such as a volcanic eruption.

Q What obligation does the airline have?
It must provide meals and, if necessary, accommodation, until it can get you to your destination by the swiftest reasonable means. The obligation is open-ended.

Q Can I opt for a refund instead?

If a flight is delayed by five hours or more, or cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund. This will also cover the inbound trip, if you have booked a return ticket and decide not to travel. However, if you buy two separate tickets, e.g. outbound with BA and home with easyJet, then the inbound sector is not refundable if that flight goes ahead. 

Q I’ve paid for accommodation - can I claim that back if I can’t reach it?

If you have bought it as part of a package, then you can claim the overall cost. However, if it is booked separately then you do not have the right to a refund. Bluntly, the hotel or apartment owner will say: the room was here for you, the fact you couldn’t get here isn’t our problem.

Q Will I be covered by travel insurance?

That all depends on whether you bought a policy that covers disruption caused by volcanic ash. Many, particularly cheaper policies, do not. 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London