This section provides a brief overview of impacts to airports and should be read in conjunction with detailed cleanup advice found in ICAO Document 9691 Appendix A and in the Airport Clean-Up section of this website.
The effects of volcanic activity on airports include disruption of operations, damage to aircraft, and damage to facilities. The most common effect is temporary operational disruption, ranging from flight cancellations to airport closures for periods of hours to weeks.
A 2009 report, Volcanic Hazards to Airports, and a detailed incident database document that through 2006, 101 airports in 28 countries were affected by eruptions at 46 volcanoes. About half of the affected airports are located within 150 km (93 mi) of the source volcanoes, and about three-quarters are within 300 km (186 mi).
The main hazard to airports is ashfall. Accumulation on runways of only a few millimeters of ash is sufficient to force temporary closure of an airport, although landings and takeoffs also can be disrupted by the presence of ash in airspace in the vicinity of airports, without ground accumulation.Read the Airport Clean-Up section of this website for more information.