Irish Aviation Authority Has Reinstate Air Traffic Services <


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Irish Aviation Authority Has Reinstate Air Traffic Services

Steve Hall

April 20, 2010 - The Irish Aviation Authority will reinstate air traffic services from 0500 on today whereby facilitating a phased return to normal operations by airlines. 

This follows Monday afternoon's endorsement, by the EU Transport Ministers (Minister's Decision); of a plan to ease restrictions based on ash proliferation assessments. The Plan provides for three different zones, which will be regularly determined by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London, depending on their degree of contamination.

The first of these zones is located in the central nucleus of the emissions and a full restriction of operations will apply given that it is impossible to guarantee its safety. The second of these zones is one which will not in principle impede air traffic operations being carried out, even though there are still some amounts of ash present.

This zone will need to be confirmed and the decisions about the operations will be taken in a coordinated manner by the authorities of the Member States. The third zone is not affected by the ash, resulting in no restrictions of any type to the operations.

The IAA is working closely with neighboring air traffic service providers and with the airlines to implement this response. Irish airspace restrictions will continue until 0500 local time, Tuesday 20th April 2010. At that time the IAA will reinstate air traffic services in accordance with the above zoning.

However, this will not necessarily mean an immediate full return to operations by airlines which will be dependent upon the airspace zoning, aircraft positioning, backlogs etc. A return to full airline operations may take several days. The IAA will continue to monitor both volcanic activity and meteorological information.

It is now up to airports and airlines to decide how best to use the new arrangements. Passengers should contact their airlines to find out how this will affect their travel plans.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stated it supports the decision by the European Commission to resume air traffic in parts of continental Europe. The FAA stated that safety was the main priority for both U.S. and European aviation authorities. This gradual, cautious return of operations is reliant on the track of the volcanic ash cloud which is being monitored closely.

The FAA is continuing to work with the European Union and is sharing technical information and guidance based on previous experience managing weather and volcanic events that have affected portions of U.S. airspace. The FAA remains ready to assist both the air carriers and our colleagues in Europe to do whatever is necessary to help stranded passengers and to safely return air service between our continents.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sharply criticized European governments for their lack of leadership in handling airspace restrictions in light of the Icelandic volcano eruption and urged a re-think of the decision-making process.
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