Scientists: ash-cloud shutdown was right move

Scandinavian academic team says it was right to stop aircraft flying

A new scientific study by an Icelandic-Danish team has concluded that it was right to worry about airline safety during the ash-cloud crisis last year. The particles of ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano were unusually fine and sharp and therefore potentially very damaging to aircraft, says the study published in the journal PNAS. Their small size caused them to stay in the area for a considerable time.
Such small particles would have melted inside aircraft engines, which may have then caused them to fail, say the scientists at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. “We have presented a protocol so that, if answers are needed quickly in future, they can be had,” said Susan Stipp from Copenhagen University. The ash cloud prompted the biggest closure of European airspace since World War II, affecting around 10 million travellers and causing losses of somewhere between €1.5 billion and €2.5 billion.
[pictured: NASA image showing eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, 17 April 2010]


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