Scrap ash warning system, say airlines

Airlines attacked aviation authorities yesterday, demanding a new approach that would allow them to fly more planes through volcanic ash.

British Airways, Ryanair and Thomson Airways all urged a revamp of the rules on no-fly zones after hundreds of flights were grounded in the morning and then allowed to resume in the afternoon. Winds are predicted to blow the ash cloud away from the UK this week, but further disruption is possible today as airlines seek to clear their backlog of services.

Geologists have warned that the ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano could disrupt flights for months and that other volcanoes, such as Katla, also on Iceland, could cause bigger problems in years to come.

Under the present regulatory system, the National Air Traffic Service (Nats) announces bans following Met Office forecasts on the location of the ash and advice from planemakers about the amount that can safely enter engines.

Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, called for an end to the Met Office's volcano concentration charts used to set the bans. He said: "Airlines have known for some weeks now that there has been little evidence of any volcanic ash in the atmosphere over Ireland, the UK or Continental Europe.

"The fact that Heathrow and Gatwick airports have reopened, despite the fact that the charts shows this imaginary black plume directly over these major London airports, shows that the charts have no credibility.

"It is frankly ridiculous that the flight plans of millions of passengers across Europe are being disrupted on a daily basis by an outdated, inappropriate and imaginary computer-generated model and it is time these charts were done away with."

Chris Browne, managing director of Thomson Airways, said that if the ash clouds continued, more accurate modelling was needed and it was "vital that we understand the tolerance levels for aircraft and engines in particular".

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, complained the bans were "a gross over-reaction to a very minor risk". He said: "I am very concerned that we have decisions on opening and closing of airports based on a theoretical model."

The Met Office rejected the criticism, saying that its charts were "continually looked at and updated". They were based on satellite pictures and ground-based laser observations, a spokesman said. He added: "Clearly there was some ash that was out there but it was in low levels in some parts of the UK. It's a tried and tested model."

Nats said UK airspace would be clear until 1am today but a no-fly zone would remain in force over parts of the North Sea, which could restrict helicopter flights. Yesterday it ruled the volcanic ash posed a danger to most of the UK, but lifted restrictions at Heathrow and Gatwick by about 11am and over all of mainland Britain by 1pm. Restrictions remained in force over the Scottish Islands.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
News
people
News
Tony Blair and David Cameron side by side in 2006
people
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
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

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?