Volcano Still Causing Air Travel Disruptions

Who would have thought that in the ultra-modern, ultra-tech-oriented, twenty-first century, people would have been brought to their knees by an ancient volcano? And here you are, looking forward to your European timeshare vacation. What’s a traveler to do?

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano (pronounced “AYA-fyatla-jo-kutl”, according to NASA) began erupting in April, 2010. Although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, the 2010 event has caused enormous disruption of air travel across western and northern Europe.

Normally the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull would have been a medium-sized, somewhat non-descript eruption that would have interested only scientists and local residents. However, a unique combination of factors, according to scientists, led to ash being carried by the jet stream directly over some of the busiest airspace in the world, thus impacting people on a world-wide scale.

So why does this effect air travel? It turns out that volcanic ash contains silicates, or glass fibers, which can melt inside jet engines, causing them to flame out and stall. The ash can sandblast the windscreen, "blinding" the pilot and requiring instrument landings. The sandblasting also damages the fuselage, and can damage the landing lights preventing them from projecting forward.

For anyone planning air travel to Europe the bad news just keeps coming. The "Icelandic Review" reports that there is nothing to indicate that the eruption is about to subside. The last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which occurred almost 200 years ago in 1821, lasted almost two years.

And according to Icelandic President Olafur Grimsson, all previous eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruption of its larger neighbor, Katla. "The time for Katla to erupt is coming close," Grimsson stated. "We in Iceland have prepared ... it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption."

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) was created by the U.N. in the 1990s to improve forecasts of the locations of ash clouds from volcanic eruptions following incidents where commercial aircraft had flown through volcanic ash resulting in the loss of engine power. You can rest assured that the VAAC will be monitoring Eyjafjallajökull, Katla, and all of the other active volcanoes around the world.

Meanwhile, as you await the VACC's "All Clear" you can still plan a wonderful summer timeshare vacation. The rest of the world is open, including the entire U.S., and a timeshare rental is probably available anywhere (outside of poor beleaguered Europe) that you might want to go. So go ahead and have a great summer vacation!

(Photo from Wikipedia.com)
1 Response
  1. Julia Says:

    Thank you for this informative post! It is helpful to know what is happening and why. And it is very interesting to learn more about this relatively 'small' volcano and its eruptions. With this information, summer plans can be made with confidence. And as said, there are exciting places that are not affected by the volcanic ash. Let's all go ahead with summer vacation plans to fun places and have a great summer!

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