British aviation regulators bring in measures on Tuesday to reduce the airspace closures fiercely criticised by airlines, as European skies were hit by new shutdowns caused by volcano ash clouds.
Plumes of thick ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, which in April shut down much of Europe’s airspace for a week last month, drifted over the continent on Monday, closing major airports and cancelling some 1,000 flights.
Airlines, which have lost millions of dollars due to the ash alerts, have expressed their fury with what they viewed as unnecessary restrictions introduced by overcautious safety watchdogs.
In a bid to keep the skies open for business, British aviation regulators introduce new measures from midday on Tuesday that will to allow flights in thicker ash than previously permitted for a certain amount of time.
The new area — called a “Time-Limited Zone” — was created after discussions between regulators and manufacturers. Experts believe high concentrations of volcanic dust can damage plane engines and even cause crashes.