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The CAA, in partnership with the Irish Aviation Authority, established a Volcanic Ash Advisory Group after the Grimsvotn eruption to take forward the work to refine volcanic ash forecasting. It includes organisations such as NATS, the Met Office and airlines. The aim of the Group is to ensure that disruption can be minimised without compromising safety by developing a better way to analyse data from a range of sources to produce an accurate, real time, working picture of developing ash concentrations. Work is already underway to achieve this and will inform the definition of the ash zones in future events.

In addition, the Secretary of State for Transport formed a Volcanic Ash Science Review Group, led by the UK Government’s Chief Scientist, Professor Sir John Beddington. This group collected and considered sources of data on ash concentrations, and sought to establish how we can best use that data to update the forecasting model.

Driving safety action forward

The CAA is continuing to drive activities worldwide to develop a more detailed scientific understanding of the problems caused by ash. As the aviation sector’s UK regulator, we are working hard to bring the industry together to address the issue. We are also looking to engine and aircraft manufacturers, working in conjunction with airlines, to build the evidence for new technical guidelines.

Manufacturers can perform testing based on ash intake into engines and certify its effect on airframes and instrumentation, and would be responsible for making any changes to technical guidelines.

Throughout this process, the CAA will ensure that the public is at the heart of all our work and our goal is to allow as much flying as safely possible.