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Volcanic ash clouds-improving outlook

Extract from ABTA bulletin Tuesday 17th May 2010

Important developments:
The CAA are developing their response to this unprecedented situation gradually. This evening, it was announced that the CAA have taken the decision to review the type of charts they are using to issue guidance on available and restricted airspace. As such, the CAA will launch new procedures at noon tomorrow (18th May). The new charts issued will segregate airspace into 3 areas as opposed to the standard 2 areas (currently black and red charts - black areas being no-fly-zones and red areas being areas where aircraft can fly subject to adopting the CAA's enhanced procedures guidance). The new charts will be segregated as follows:

Areas of Enhanced Procedures - indicated as red and currently the red zones on the standard black and red charts.
Areas which are No-Fly-Zones - indicated as black and currently the black zones on the standard black and red charts.
A time limited zone - this will be a new grey area on the current charts (around no-fly-zones - effectively, in between red and black areas on the new charts.

The CAA have advised that the new 'time limited zone' will be available to airline operators that are able to submit a safety case for flying in grey zones which is supported by evidence from the original aircraft engine manufacturers and airframe manufacturers demonstrating that they approve the type of engines and airframe for flying through the grey zone subject to the restriction on time. The CAA are advising this new system has already been supported by EUROCONTROL, some engine and airframe manufacturers, International Civil Aviaition Authority and the Irish Aviation Authority.

Effectively, this new procedure should reduce the amount of no-fly-zone space identified on the MET office charts and identified on NOTAMS issued and therefore, result in less disruption for future ash incidents.

For a full copy of the new CAA guidance please use this link.

Please note, this is due to come into force tomorrow at 12noon. Whilst these new charts have yet to be seen in practice, the future situation is looking more positive.


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