Irish budget airline Ryanair claims it flew one of its aircraft through the plume of volcano ash over Scottish airspace on Tuesday without incident and therefore flights over the country should be restored. U.K. aviation authorities denied that the plane flew through the so-called "red zone."
The company said that it disagreed with the disruption in flights that was ordered by the Irish Aviation Authority, which prompted flight cancellations at major airports in the country.
In an hour-long “verification flight,” the airliner said it flew one of its craft at 41,000 feet in Scottish airspace, taking off from Glasgow Prestwick airport and flew to Inverness, Aberdeen and down to Edinburgh.
“There was no visible volcanic ash cloud or any other presence of volcanic ash and the post flight inspection revealed no evidence of volcanic ash on the airframe, wings or engines,” the company stated.
The fact that there is no volcanic ash in the “mythical red zone” over Scotland is “another misguided invention” from U.K. authorities, Ryanair added.
The company “also received written confirmation from both its airframe and engine manufacturers that it is safe to operate in these so called ‘red zones’ and, in any event, Ryanair’s verification flight this morning also confirms that the ‘red zone’ over Scotland is non-existent,” reads the statement.
After Ryanair made claims that it flew its plane unscathed through the “red zone,” the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority said that it never entered the zone."The CAA can confirm that at no time did a Ryanair flight enter the notified area of high contamination ash over Scotland this morning," it told the BBC.
Thousands of customers face flight cancellations in the U.K. after an ash plume that was ejected over Scotland by a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Last year, billions of dollars were lost and hundreds of thousands of customers experienced flight delays when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted.