Planes can fly through volcanic ash, after all?

I’m a little lost by this whole volcanic ash cloud thing. I’ve only caught bits of information but, from what I understand, some big-ass volcano has kicked off in Iceland and splatted loads of dust into the upper atmosphere which could get stuck in plane engines. This is obviously a bad thing, so the skies above the UK and beyond were closed.

The airlines were pretty screwed. They were losing millions every day. People were stuck all over the world, wanting to get home. The authorities stuck their heels in though. Safety was top priority. No-one is going anywhere. End of.

But then, late tonight (20th April) the CAA and UK Transport officials did the biggest U-turn in the history of U-turns and basically stated that “after careful analysis” they would actually open up all the airports again. A lot of talk of “tolerances to aircraft engines” was mentioned in the press release and some Lord that no-one has heard of has now stated that experts have reassessed the lock-down and it’s actually all OK.

So. I’m guessing that the CAA and others have chosen to ignore the fact that Finnish Air Force jets were damaged by the ash on Wednesday after they patrolled European airspace. Glass deposits were reported inside the engine.

They stated that..

“Although the exposure to the ash was short, “the images show that short-term flying can cause substantial damage to an aircraft engine” according to the Finnish air force.”

So why have we just opened all the airports and airspace when the cloud of ash is still up there? I’m guessing it’s all due to the massive losses that airlines are making?

Links – mi2g.comFinnish Air ForceBBC News