Volcanic ash poses a widespread, frequent hazard to safe and efficient air travel.
  • Thousands of commercial flights occur daily along the many major air routes that overlie the world's volcanically active regions, and volcanic ash is present in the atmosphere at flight altitudes virtually every day somewhere around the world.
  • Numerous encounters of aircraft with ash clouds have demonstrated the range of damage that can result from entry of ash particles into a jet engine, even to the point of engine shutdown during flight.
  • Major economic and transportation disruptions can occur when airports are closed and flights are cancelled or rerouted to avoid ash in airspace, as a large part of the world experienced during the 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
These adverse effects on aviation can be mitigated.
  • A globally coordinated system of eruption reporting and ash cloud detection and forecasting is in place to warn pilots, dispatchers, air-traffic managers, and aviation meteorologists about the whereabouts of potentially hazardous ash clouds.
  • Procedures have been identified to prepare for and recover from ashfall at airports.

See Also:
Cleanup, Disposal & Reuse > Airport Clean-up & Mitigation Procedures