Established in 1995, easyJet operates flights across an extensive network covering destinations in Europe and northern Africa, using Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The airline carried over 37 million passengers in 2007.
EasyJet, often at the forefront of innovation in the airline industry, has decided that enough is enough when it comes to the disruption caused by the clouds of ash which have become commonplace. To be fair to them, volcanoes have been around some considerable time longer than manned flight so it makes sense that they would have the upper hand.
When a volcano erupts it often spews great clouds of ash into the atmosphere this ask has the rather inconvenient habit of hanging around in areas which planes need to fly through. For a variety of safety reasons, the various aviation authorities have advised that aircraft flying through ash clouds are at a level of risk. One of the key issues is that the particulate matter in the ash clouds has the potential to cause damage to the moving parts of aircraft engines. This could in turn cause all of the engines on a plane to fail, hence the aviation authorities are playing safe and advising airlines to steer clear of the clouds. These clouds have even led to complete shutdowns in whole countries in the past.
EasyJet are making use of a system of sensors which are able to detect these ash clouds at a distance sufficient for the pilot to safely make changes to the plane’s course and avoid flying through the cloud. The sensors are mounted on the tail of the aircraft and they are able to identify an ash cloud from around 60 miles away. This in turn means that fewer planes will be grounded and that the ash clouds will do little more than slightly delay a flight. So passengers can fly in complete confidence that they won’t have their travel plans thwarted by volcanoes!