New guidance on ash

May 17: UK air traffic services provider NATS has announced that new guidance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) means that restrictions on UK airspace can be eased from today.
The guidance says that aircraft can now safely fly through ‘medium density’ ash following the introduction of a new zone that defines the ash concentration: “NATS has been at the heart of this ground-breaking proposal and our people have worked very closely with the Irish Aviation Authority, CAA and the rest of the industry to make it happen,” said NATS Chief Executive Officer, Richard Deakin. “Every leading player in aviation has been helping to build vast amounts of data about the effects of volcanic ash over the last month. There is mounting evidence that aircraft can fly safely through areas of medium density, provided some additional precautions are taken. This is now what has been agreed.”
Previously, No-Fly Zones (NFZ) have been applied in areas of greatest ash density with Enhanced Procedures Zones (EPZ) in areas of low density. From today a third Time Limited Zone (TLZ) has been introduced for areas of medium ash density, meaning that there are no predicted restrictions on UK airspace in the immediate future.