18 APRIL 2011

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Article from BTNews 18 APRIL 2011

easyJet update on volcanic ash AVOID system

A year on from the volcanic ash cloud that closed European airspace for five days, easyJet has published progress details of the AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) system.

Ian Davies, Head of Engineering, easyJet said: “Last winter we were told that the heavy snowfall was a once in a lifetime event and then it happened again ten months later.  We can say with certainty that it will happen (again) at some stage. 

The no-frills carrier is investing £1m in AVOID, which is the brainchild of scientist Fred Prata from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

But although some progress has been made the system has yet to go on to any passenger aircraft.  At one time easyJet said it wanted 12 of its aircraft installed with the system by the end of 2010.

EasyJet said the AVOID prototype is ready to test in volcanic ash, but the scheme needs European Aviation Safety Agency approval and also European Commission financial support.  EasyJet is pursuing both these objectives.  Ian Davies is clearly frustrated.  "We call for more support from the rest of the industry for this and other new solutions to deal with the volcanic threat," he said.

Video footage and interviews can be downloaded: www.digitalnewsagency.com/stories/5457-easyjet-trial-ash-cloud-detector
www.nilu.no

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