October 24, 2017

Scotland flights grounded as ash from Iceland volcano approaches

photo of the Grimsvotn eruption taken from a plane that wasn't grounded.

A dense cloud of ash from the Iceland volcano, Grimsvotn, is heading for Scotland, forcing one local airline to cancel nearly all its flights.

There is currently no airspace closure over Scotland, but Glasgow-based regional airline Loganair has cancelled 36 flights scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said it now appears that ash could reach Scottish airspace from later today and affect other parts of the U.K. and Ireland later in the week.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said: “Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of people both onboard aircraft and on the ground.”

“We can’t rule out disruption, but the new arrangements that have been put in place since last year’s ash cloud mean the aviation sector is better prepared and will help to reduce any disruption in the event that volcanic ash affects UK airspace.”

The international pilots’ federation warned yesterday that it believed the cloud still presented a potential danger to commercial aircraft despite developments since last year.

“It remains out view that when there is an unknown then it is always better to err on the side of caution,” said Gideon Ewers, spokesman for the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations.

The expected disruption in Scotland is being caused by the smaller of two ash clouds from the volcano. The main cloud was causing minor disruptions around Scandinavia.

The cloud is predicted to arch its way north of Scandinavia and possibly touch the islands off the northern Russian coastline within the next two days.

There are signs that eruption of Grimsvotn is lessening in its intensity. However with a volcano its moods can be very hard to predict. A bit like some women, so I am told.