Volcanic ash cloud: Where is it today?
As of May 13, the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland has shrunk substantially over the past two days, allowing dozens of airports in Europe to reopen and restoring flights to normal.
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"Today Eurocontrol expects normal amounts of traffic across Europe with fully normal operations," Eurocontrol said today on its Twitter page. Friday is also expected to see normal flight operations.Skip to next paragraph
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A smaller no-fly zone?
With airports much at the whim of the weather's affect on the ash cloud, the European Union's European Aviation Safety Agency is now considering shrinking the no-fly zone surrounding the ash cloud. This would allow flights to depart even if there was a small amount of ash in the air.
The agency has proposed imposing a 120-mile no-fly zone, which would be hundreds of miles smaller than the one used now in Europe, according to the Associated Press. Airlines have criticized the agency for causing unnecessary flight cancellations and monetary losses.
"At the crux of the dispute is a question fundamental to commercial aviation," writes The Wall Street Journal: "What level of risk is acceptable for passengers, airlines and governments? It is an issue carriers face daily, assessing potential threats ranging from thunderstorms to birds. Safety experts say there are no documented cases of passenger fatalities due to engine failure from ash."
Carriers say they constantly deal with some level of volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
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- Volcano in Iceland: Brits add it to their grievances toward Viking republic
- All Iceland news coverage