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Legal Notices



New eruption in Eyjafjallajökull causing significant disruption to air traffic in Northern Europe


Paris (France), 15 April 2010 – Following recent unrest in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on southern Iceland, a new and much more powerful eruption started on 14 April 2010 under the ice-cap west of Fimmvörðuháls.

Prevailing upper winds are spreading the volcanic ash cloud eastwards from Iceland towards United Kingdom and Scandinavian airspace.

Volcanic ash contingency measures are currently implemented by the States affected to minimise the disruption to air traffic and airport operations whilst maintaining the upmost in flight and passenger safety, in accordance with the International Airways Volcano Watch of ICAO.

Find out more about the International Airways Volcano Watch of ICAO.

Volcanic eruptions can result in the ejection of significant amounts of volcanic ash into the atmosphere. Composed of tiny particles of glass and pulverised rock, as well as silicates, volcanic ash has an abrasive affect on any surface it impacts at high speed, such as an airframe and aircraft engine. Furthermore, the particles may fuse at temperatures that are lower than the average engine operating temperature (at cruise speed). Clouds of ash are also often accompanied by clouds of gas, including sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid.

Volcanic ash poses a significant hazard to aircraft and airport operations. International Standards and Recommended Practices concerning volcanic ash contingency are contained principally within ICAO Annexes 3, 11 and 15 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. In addition, a number of global and regional ICAO manuals and documents are available to support a coordinated response to the hazards posed by volcanic ash to the international aviation community.

Useful links for aviation:

ICAO Doc 9766 – Handbook on the International Airways Volcano Watch (Operational Procedures and Contact List)

ICAO Doc 9691 – Manual on Volcanic Ash, Radioactive Material and Toxic Chemical Clouds

ICAO EUR Volcanic Ash Contingency Plan – ICAO EUR Doc 019

ICAO NAT Contingency Plan – ICAO NAT Doc 006

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) areas of responsibility

VAAC London (includes links to latest volcanic ash advisories)

VAAC Toulouse (includes links to latest volcanic ash advisories)