Ash disruption during 2011

A look at the role of the CAA when ash entered UK airspace in May 2011.


The Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland erupted in May 2011, sending ash into the atmosphere.  This time, the aviation industry was better prepared.

All the main players were involved in daily teleconferences and the new three zone system was brought into play as Scottish flights started to be affected.  All airline companies had to establish a safety case if they wanted to operate in areas of medium or high density ash.  The new zoning system meant that airlines had more freedom to operate in higher areas of ash than they had during the eruption of 2010.

The Met Office’s ash forecasting model was used to predict where areas of high density ash were likely to be. The Grimsvotn ash disruption lasted only a few days and its effects on UK airspace were much less widely felt than the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull the year before. Never the less further work is needed to be undertaken by the aviation community to look at how it deals with ash.

How we are planning for future ash events.