Call for an instant quote
0345 90 80 161
Open Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17:30 | Sat 09:00 - 16:00 (GMT)
15 November 2013 11:03
Ian Davies, easyJet's engineering director, points to the area on the plane where the Avoid volcanic sensor is placed
Travel disruptions caused by volcanic ash could be a thing of past if tests on aircraft prove successful.
As part of an experiment by easyJet to test volcanic sensor detection equipment it plans to fit to its planes, an artificial ash cloud was created.
The conditions were made to mimic those which caused widespread disruption and led to thousands of
travel insurance claims when Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted in 2010.
The eruption created a massive ash cloud in the atmosphere across vast areas of Europe, severely delaying flights and leaving passengers stranded across the world.
In the experiment, a test plane dispersed one tonne of Icelandic ash into the atmosphere at between 9,000ft and 11,000ft.
A second aircraft fitted with the Avoid (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) technology then flew towards the ash cloud, identifying and measuring it from around 40 miles away.
In addition, a small aircraft was flown into the cloud to take exact measurements for comparison with those taken by the Avoid device.
The cloud measured 600ft-800ft deep and was about 1.75 miles in diameter. It was initially visible to the naked eye, but became hard to identify once it began to dissipate.
The Avoid device successfully detected the ash cloud and measured its density to be within the range of concentrations measured during the 2010 eruption.
"Finding a solution is as crucial now as ever to ensure we never again see the scenes of spring 2010 when all flying ceased across Europe for several days," easyJet engineering director Ian Davies said.
He called the development a "key step in the final journey of testing the technology and moving towards commercial certification" and added that easyJet will now work towards developing a "non-integrated stand-alone system".
This system, Davies went on, is aimed to be fitted to a number of the airline's current fleet by the end of next year.
Avoid inventor Dr Fred Prata said: "The team has just executed a unique scientific and engineering experiment conclusively demonstrating that low concentrations of ash can be identified by the sensor."
21 October 2016
A union is warning of travel chaos over the Christmas period at four major UK airports, unless a baggage carrier transfers staff to other companies.
20 October 2016
Thousands of passengers faced travel chaos yesterday after rail service through the Channel Tunnel was suspended because of a power failure.
19 October 2016
People planning holidays from Gatwick Airport in the run up to Christmas could face travel chaos as unions threaten to strike over a pension dispute.
18 October 2016
Eurostar has said it will cut 12 services from London St Pancras to Paris and Brussels.
15 October 2016
Tourists in Thailand are being advised to "behave respectfully" and wear "sombre" clothing as the country mourns King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
14 October 2016
Holidaymakers are being warned to buy currency in advance as exchange rates being offered are as little as 0.96 euro to the pound at airports.
13 October 2016
Scientists say there is strong evidence air pollution and vitamin D deficiency can cause dementia.
12 October 2016
More people are going on holiday than at any time in the past five years despite terror attacks and the impact of Brexit, according to a study.
11 October 2016
People from across North Carolina had to be rescued from their homes as the downgraded Hurricane Matthew blew out to sea - leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
04 October 2016
People travelling abroad is on the rise, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
08 October 2016
A hurricane pelting the coast of Florida and described as a 'monster' by a local official has brought chaos to the state, with flights cancelled, homes evacuated and theme parks shut.
07 October 2016
Low-cost airline easyJet says its profits will nosedive as terrorist attacks and air traffic control strikes are taking their toll on the company.