New Ryanair called for an end to the VAAC Volcano Concentration Charts clears the way to fly through ash cloud

Tuesday 18, May 2010


New Ryanair called for an end to the VAAC Volcano Concentration Charts clears the way to fly through ash cloud


Ryanair calls to end current VAAC system as today’s reopening of London airports removes any credibility it may have had.




Ryanair, the UK’s largest passenger airline today (Monday, 17th May) called for an end to the VAAC Volcano Concentration Charts which have over recent weeks used computer generated models to chart large black clouds over much of Ireland and the UK which don’t exist.   Ryanair questions why Heathrow and Gatwick airports were reopened this morning, despite the fact that the VAAC charts show this imaginary black cloud no fly zone directly over Heathrow and Gatwick airports.  It would appear that there is one model for air safety for all other UK airports, but when it threatens the opening of Gatwick and Heathrow, these VAAC charts are simply ignored.


In recent weeks Ryanair has repeatedly called for the UK to move to the US system of volcano monitoring under which a substantial “danger zone” with a radius of 60 miles is established around an erupting volcano.  Outside of this “danger zone”, airlines are free to fly as long as there is no visible ash presence.  Airlines then comply with manufacturer guidelines, should they notice any ash particles on either the fuselage or engines of aircraft after landing.


Recent weeks have shown that the UK VAAC system is not alone unreliable, but substantially fictitious.  The theoretical plotting of imaginary black plumes of volcanic ash, many thousands of miles from Iceland, when thousands of flights taken by European airlines have repeatedly confirmed no presence of volcanic ash has reduced airline confidence in the VAAC charts to zero.  Today’s decision to reopen Gatwick and Heathrow airports, despite the fact that this imaginary black cloud or no fly zone is hovering right over Heathrow and Gatwick, proves that the VAAC charts no longer retains any credibility or confidence within the airline industry.  Ryanair now calls on the CAA to do away with these VAAC charts and for European regulators to move towards the US system of limited no fly zones in the immediate vicinity of volcanoes, but not many thousands of miles away.


Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Today’s reopening of Heathrow and Gatwick airports removes any shred of credibility that the VAAC charts may have had.  Airlines have known for some weeks now that there has been little evidence of any volcanic ash in the atmosphere over Ireland, the UK or Continental Europe (much of it, thousands of miles away from Iceland).  The fact that Heathrow and Gatwick airports have reopened this morning, despite the fact that the VAAC charts show this imaginary black plume (or no fly zone) directly over these major London airports shows that the VAAC charts have no credibility.  There cannot be one safety model for busy London airports, and a different safety model for smaller regional airports.  It should and must be the one safety rule for all.


“It is frankly ridiculous that the flight plans of millions of air passengers across Europe are being disrupted on a daily basis by an outdated, inappropriate and imaginary computer generated VAAC model and it is time that these charts were done away with.  If Heathrow and Gatwick are open today, when the VAAC charts clearly show they’re in the middle of a no fly zone, then the VAAC charts have no validity or credibility.  It is time to do away with this model now and replace it with the US model which is a practical, safe and sensible response to passenger safety in the aftermath of further volcanic eruptions in Iceland”.





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