Germany sees no ash cloud disruption at present

23rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany said Tuesday it saw no danger of disruption to air travel from Icelandic volcanic ash at present, but announced new rules to help avert the chaos caused by a previous eruption in 2010.

"At present there is no danger for German airspace" from a cloud of ash spewed out by the Grimsvoetn volcano since the weekend, the transport ministry said in a statement.

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer announced new rules to help the country cope better than after the eruption of the Eyjafjoell volcano last year, when most of Europe's airspace was closed.

This included a ban on flights, except for emergencies, if the concentration of volcanic ash is more than 2.0 milligrams per cubic metre, it said.

"A recent study has shown once again how harmful volcanic ash particles can be for aircraft and their engines," Ramsauer said in a statement.

"With our measures in place, Germany is well prepared. But an internationally-agreed and uniform approach within the European Union remains necessary."

Meteorological experts said on Monday that the ash was being blown south towards Britain and could reach the airspace over mainland Europe later in the week.

Iceland's airspace, which was closed shortly after the volcano began spewing ash at the weekend, was partially reopened Monday but the main Keflavik airport, near the capital Reykjavik, remained closed, officials said.

During last year's eruption, more than 100,000 flights were cancelled and eight million passengers stranded, dealing a harsh blow to the airline industry, particularly in Europe.

© 2011 AFP

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