Volcanic ash

How the CAA works to ensure safety when volcanic ash enters UK airspace.

Volcanic ash can adversely affect aircraft in a number of ways.  Jet aircraft engines in particular are susceptible to damage from volcanic ash.  That's why there are comprehensive safety arrangements in place.  As a result of the work that has been undertaken since the 2010 ash crisis and arrangements that have been put in place since, we are confident that high levels of public safety can be maintained, while minimising and disruption.

These improvements include:

  • A new system of regulating the way aviation deals with ash that allows more airspace to be used safety and provides airlines more input into the process.
  • Improvements in the observing and forecasting of where ash is and its density - including a new radar in Iceland to detect ash in the atmosphere.
  • The establishment of two working groups including airlines and scientists to act as advisors on ash forecasting and how best to use the output from the Met Office modelling system.

The CAA can't stop volcanic activity, but we are continuing to work with the aviation industry to develop further technical solutions that will increase flying when we are sure it is safe to do so and are endeavouring to ensure interruption is kept to a minimum.

Also in this section:

  • Safety First - Why Ash and Aviation don't mix
  • How ash is managed in UK airspace
  • Planning for future events
  • A history of ash and aviation