Aer Lingus asks EU to revise procedures relating to volcanic ash

Aer Lingus has called on the European Union (EU) to urgently revise procedures used to predict volcanic ash concentrations in the wake of “unjustified closures of European airspace” last month.

The airline said it wanted a more proactive role from the EU in the co-ordination of data that predicts the effect of volcanic ash, rather than decisions “based on theoretical models”.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said: “The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre model has been proven inaccurate several times and we have lost confidence in its reliability.

“It is now impossible to continue with it and we believe volcanic ash predictions thousands of miles away from the original eruption need to be treated differently.

“Europe has little or no experience in this area, whereas the Federal Aviation Authority in the US has been monitoring airspace around a number of active volcanoes for decades.

“We propose that specialised aircraft, including possibly military aircraft, equipped with appropriate measuring devices be deployed around the Atlantic rim as a part of a European initiative in order to respond swiftly and decisively to any approaching ash cloud.”

Mueller called on Ireland, due to its geographic position, to take the lead in forcing the EU to implement “appropriate procedures that enable airlines to continue flying”.

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