Friday, 16 April 2010

Volcano shuts down aviation over NW Europe

As I write, there are only four aircraft over Polish airspace., an excellent source of real-time aviation information, shows absolutely nothing across of broad swathe of Europe from Portual, the UK, Scandinavia and Russia. Blue crosses are airports, yellow symbols are aircraft (click on map to enlarge).

This is the flight ban resulting from the plume of volcanic ash from the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull* in Iceland (under the FlightRadar24 logo, top left).

Look at Turkey - that's the normal air traffic density you'd get over the whole continent of a weekday morning. Many of the aircraft in the air right now are long-haul passenger jets making it back to Europe from places like South Africa or Singapore. I can also see planes being diverted.

Sitting here under the approach to Runway 33 at Warsaw's Okęcie airport, at this time of day - it's weird - usually there's a stream of take-offs or landings. Normally, we can expect 40 aircraft movements from 06:00 to 07:00. The airport's website reports 12 cancelled arrivals (four landed/two more expected in from southern Europe, Wrocław and Kraków). Nothing's due to take off.

Will this bizarre situation clear up before Sunday's state funeral in Kraków?

* Where is the BBC's Pronunciation Unit when it's needed?


Anonymous said...

Here it is:

Paulina Wawrzyńczyk said...

It's interesting that Western politicians were unable to come to the Kaczyński's funeral but Eastern somehow managed to do it. Miedwiediew knew his presence is desperately needed, Havel came by train and Saakaszwili came in the last moment. "Kto chce, szuka sposobu, kto nie chce, szuka powodu";) More details here:

Anonymous said...

“Kto nie chce, szuka powodu”? If only all Western leaders knew that the volcanic plume would be carried through Europe by the jet stream, maybe, just maybe, they would have organized some Global cruise through the oceans to the port of Gdansk. Now that is an entrepreneurial opportunity that someone should have thought of. Too bad that Stefan Batory is out of commission.
And question to Michael, what’s like having a good night sleep without planes flying overhead?
Also it’s unfortunate that the Icelanders seem to have no more control over their volcanoes than they do over their banks.

inmud said...

ALthough I love this site it is worth noting that it does not display most of the Polish Airlines flights on any day, as the Embraers and most of the ATRs are not equipped with ADB-S. And the ban on flights was wreckless and fully demonstrated that although we have the EU in place there is no true coordination of air space present.

Michael Dembinski said...

Inmud - agree that doesn't show the LOT 'vanilla planes' that make up a signficant proportion of aircraft movements into and out of Warsaw Okęcie. Or indeed military of general aviation. Shame that!