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Iceland Volcano Disrupts Air Travel Worldwide April 25, 2010

Posted by Saba Rahman in Health, Natural Disasters, World Events.
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The volcanic eruption in Iceland sent huge amount of ash up into the skies of Europe. The ashes went upto 30,000 feet in the sky. The skies of  even southern part of Europe were hazy and full of volcanic ash. The European governments ordered the airlines to cancel all flights till it was safe to fly again.  The air travel business came to a screaching halt. People were stranded, away from their homes on airports, without knowing when the airlines will resume operations. Lot of domestic travelers opted for  making a long distance drive instead of waiting for the airlines to  become operational.  AndIThoughT© …….. that how vulnerable we are to the events of  nature.

People exposed to volcanic ash may  experience skin irritation and  various eye, nose, and throat symptoms. Unnecessary exposure to ash should be avoided. An effective face mask  should be used when outside to reduce inhalation of   ash particles.   The impact of the falling ash particles inhaled by the population is yet to be seen. Europeans, in the immediate future, may experience a rise in respiratory symptoms.

The volcanic ash is also known to create problems for the jetliners. There have been few instances in the past where the airliner experienced the volcanic ash in its flight path. In June, 1982 a BA flight experienced a failure of all four engines while unknowingly going thru the ashes spewed by  Mount Galunggung south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia. The airborne ash not only reduces the visibility, it damages the jet engines.

Hazards of Volcanic Ash

Though there was no mishap in bringing all the air traffic to land safely, the process was reported to be less than optimum. European Union  is calling for  an expedited integration and  reforms of the air traffic control systems. An integrated control system for “Single European Sky” project was supposed to have begun in 2012.

Now that things are coming back to normal the airline industry has its work cut out for it. They will be inspecting and repairing the  jet engines exposed to the ash. Lot of airlines have already been experiencing a difficult  time. The revenue loss due to this event will be a significant factor  in determining the profitability of some of these airlines. The estimated loss to the airline industry is in excess of  $2B.

AndIWondeR© …….. if one can ever be prepared enough for an event like this.

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