The Iceland Volcano Eyjafjallajokull is continuously posing danger among airline travellers in Europe because of the thick ash cloud that it has been leaving in the atmosphere since last week.
However, despite the warnings of several air traffic controllers in Europe, several major airline companies sent test flights without passengers on Sunday to test if it’s now safe to fly their airplanes.
One of the airline companies is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Netherlands sent four test flights through what it described as a gap in the layer of microscopic dust over Holland and Germany.
In addition, three more European airlines namely Air France, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, sent their own test flights to gauge the safety of the flight. Most of them though traveled below the height where the volcano ashes have been heavily concentrated.
Air France claimed that the first test flight that they had encountered no problems and that it ‘took place under normal conditions’ with no visual anomalies spotted. Other European airline companies which participated in the test flights did not encounter any safety problems either. They are checked by the airplane engineers after they landed to their destinations.
Steven Verhagen, vice president of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association and a Boeing 737 pilot for KLM said: “With the weather we are encountering now — clear blue skies and obviously no dense ash cloud to be seen, in our opinion there is absolutely no reason to worry about resuming flights.”
Daniel Hoeltgen, a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency said that there is no present consensus among air traffic controllers as to what consists a safe and acceptable level of ash in the atmosphere over Europe for airlines to start operations again.
Should the air traffic controllers allow European flights already as evidenced by these test flights? What do you think?
Meanwhile, below is a picture of the ashes that the Iceland Volcano Eyjafjallajokull released in the atmosphere.