With the recent news that the Icelandic volcano, Bardarbunga, is on orange alert (one notch below red), the airline industry is preparing itself for the advent of another potential ash cloud over Britain's skies.
Bardarbunga is a substantial volcano with the potential to emit ash cloud many times bigger than last seen in 2010, when Eyjafjallajokull's eruption grounded flights, causing more than £2 Billion in disruption and affecting millions of travellers.
With the advent of the busy bank holiday period - one of the busiest travel times for the aviation industry - it is crucial that all precautions are taken to avoid a repeat of the last volcanic disruption.
Fortunately, the airline industry is better prepared now than in 2010, and is remaining as vigilant and well-equipped as possible, with easyJet's AVOID (Airbourne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) Unit which offers the ability to detect ash cloud on the ground. This pioneering innovation, first unveiled in 2011 and due to be put into service in 2015, will help the aviation industry to avoid further disruption in European airspace from future volcanic activity by giving airlines the ability to navigate around ash clouds without incurring risk.
Should there be an eruption, easyJet will work with its partners: Nicarnica, the Icelandic team in FutureVolc, the Institute of Earth Sciences in Iceland, NILU (Norwegian Institute for Air Research) and Airbus to ensure that ash from it is detected and charted from space, using infra-red cameras on European weather satellites, or through the potential airborne deployment of the AVOID technology.
Ian Davis, Head of Engineering for easyJet's Avoid Unit – who won Flight Globals Aviators of the Year award in 2012 (alongside Dr Fred Prata of Nicarnica Aviation, who came up with the AVOID technology) would be available tomorrow to speak with authority on the technology in place and pioneering Avoid system, including the measurement and monitoring of volcanic activity current in place.