New updated safety zones announced by IAA

Tuesday 18, May 2010


New updated safety zones announced by IAA


Revised safety zones in Volcanic ash cloud agreed by aviation authorities, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are to be introduced at midday tomorrow (Tuesday 18th May) which will reduce flight restrictions, while maintaining safety as the main priority.




Since the beginning of the crisis, extensive discussions with airline and engine manufacturers, international regulatory authorities have been ongoing, and in joint agreement with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is satisfied that the revised zones will reduce the restrictions on airports and Irish airspace that have been recently imposed due to the Volcanic Ash.


This has been agreed jointly by the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Irish Aviation Authority and will be applied in Ireland and the United Kingdom initially and soon throughout Europe after agreement of the European Authorities.


Following  a month of  restrictions in Air Travel in Europe this update introduces a new three zone safety area that comprises an inner no fly zone, a time limited zone and an enhanced procedures zone. Aircraft with approved certification can now operate in the time limited zone with the approval of their regulatory authorities and engine and airframe manufacturers. This allows aircraft to safely operate and should reduce airspace / airport restrictions in the coming months. See attached graphic.


The agreement on updating the Safety Zones comes about after:



  • Over 300,000 hours of airline operations in the enhanced procedures zone over the past month since the Volcano erupted;
  • Test and observation flights carried out in Holland, France, Ireland, Iceland and the UK amongst others.
  • Updating of the Volcanic Model based on the following:

Engine tests and experience gained over the past month;
Engine checks by over thirty airlines, which have operated over the past month;
Enhancement of the Volcanic Ash model to take account of improved emission measurement, concentration and plume height readings.



Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive of the Irish Aviation Authority said that:


"Extensive research and data from the key stakeholders over the past three weeks,provided sufficient evidence to propose together with the UK CAA, that the safety zone charts issued from now on should be based on the new three zone basis. The reduced area of the new no fly zone will allow greater flexibility to the airlines in conjunction with their respective manufacturers to safely minimise the impact of the ash on their operations"





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