April 2010, and the ‘6 days’ of mayhem that brought the european airways to a stand still will be forever synonymous in the UK, and throughout the world as the days that “Ash” clouds ruled the skies, closing down airspace, and stranding thousands of passengers across the globe.
The Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland erupted on wednesday sending an ash cloud in to the atmosphere. By the next day the “ash” cloud had closed half of europes airspace as the clould swept south across the UK, and parts of europe.
“Volcanic ash” can have a dangerous effect on aircraft engines, on the same level as “birds strikes” in bringing down an aircraft if it effects the aircrafts engines. Just because we cannot see it, it does not mean that it isn’t dangerous.
After six days air transport is now beginning to move again, but with difficulties, as aircraft are left all over the globe, as are cabin crew stuck in other countries now trying to pick up their normal rosters.
In the midst of all this chaos, and confusion, are the passengers, business travellers, and holiday makers alike, stranded, money running out fast , feeling the stress of not being able to get home. But all is not lost, as the uk government has agreed with their Spanish counterparts to lay on coaches for those stranded in Madrid to take them to Calais and then home.
What is more important in this situation is passenger safety, not airline revenue, though we appreciate that the amount of revenue lost by the airlines is considerable, this they will be able to claw back in time. Passengers confidence in knowing that officials are doing all they can to get them home must remain intact.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) have the responsibility to judge whether the uk skies were safe or not, and in this case it wasn’t.
All this on the back of an election campaign, keeping one eye on how the government is handling the situation is news worthy, so don’t be surprised to see more and more flying objects on the tele up until election day on May 6th.