April 19: EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, reports that approximately 5,000 flights took place on April 18 in European airspace against a typical average of 24,000 for a Sunday.
At the current time, air traffic control services are not being provided to civil aircraft in the major part of European airspace, including Belgium, parts of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, parts of France, most of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, northern Italy, the Netherlands, parts of Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.
In some of these areas the upper airspace has been made available, depending on the observed and forecasted area of possible ash contamination. However, it is difficult to access this airspace as in most cases the surrounding area is not available for flights.
Southern Europe, including Spain, Portugal, the southern Balkan area, southern Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey are open and flights are taking place in these areas.
At 15:30 BST NATS says that the volcanic eruption has reduced and is not emitting ash to altitudes that will affect the UK. Based on the latest information from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until 0700 (local time) tomorrow, Tuesday 20 April.
From then Scottish airspace will be open, and south to a line between Teeside and Blackpool. Mainland Scottish airports will be open. However NATS warns that it is a “dynamic and changing situation” but thinks the contaminated area will continue to move south with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later tomorrow (Tuesday).
Thanks to Sabre Flight Explorer, we can bring you a graphic showing the extent of the ash cloud from the eruption in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland.
Red/Orange Zones depict the extent of the volcanic ash plume as forecast by the latest volcanic ash advisory (1900 UTC) prepared by the Icelandic Met Office and issued by the VAAC, London.
Straight Blue Lines show the daily published flight routes that are designated for eastbound and westbound trans-oceanic flights.
• Routes A and B: westbound flight routes from northern Europe – currently extremely limited due to the volcanic ash zone.
• Routes C and D: westbound flight route from southern Europe – currently in heavy use as they avoid the volcanic ash zone and originating extremely far west.
• Routes Y and Z: eastbound routes into Europe – only two routes in operation and extremely southern as they are guaranteed to avoid the volcanic ash zone.
Blue Arrows show the high altitude global jetstreams.
Aircraft graphics indicate the airlines then flying.