Last April, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption was an economic and logistical nightmare for the millions of travelers in Europe. But one year later, European Union officials say they are amply prepared if the volcano—or one like it—blows again.
Even though “volcanoes and other aviation crises are by their nature unpredictable,” the EU has made headway in putting systems in place to prevent another travel disaster, said European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas.
Eyjafjallajökull continuously spewed out a miasma of ash for more than a month, resulting in the cancellation of roughly 100,000 flights, at a cost to the airline industry of about estimated $1.7 billion.
The troublesome volcano is now completely dormant and on April 14, which marks the one-year anniversary of the day it first erupted, a small visitor center is being opened for tourists—yes, tourists.
Those who wish to see source of the economic destruction that was wrought upon Europe can book a flight on Iceland Express, which is now capitalizing on last year's ordeal.
The main reason for the canceled flights was fear that large plumes of ash would clog airplane engines. The measure was mainly taken as a precaution since the airlines were not clear on the extent of the danger.
The EU said that airline engine manufacturers will now have to, by law, “provide detailed information about risk associated with volcanic ash exposure and tolerance levels of the different engines they produce.”
This fall, the EU said it will use this information to come up with a proposal to require engine manufacturers to tell airlines the risks associated with volcanic ash getting sucked into their engines.
Other systems that will also be put in place include better meteorological systems and new radar systems for enhanced modeling and thus, greater accuracy and prediction.
Such models can provide “accurate, timely and consistent information about the position, amount, composition, altitude, projected trajectory, and drift of volcanic ash,” the EU stated.