Just as airline travel started to recover from the recent volcanic ash crisis, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull has sent another plume of ash into the sky that has shut down flying operations in Ireland and the Outer Hebrides.

Although flights to continental Europe are presently unaffected, people are being warned to check ahead online to make sure their flight has not been cancelled.

The latest ash density concentrations are predicted to exceed the new manufacturer’s acceptable engine tolerance levels drawn up since the first volcanic ash event, so the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had no choice but to order a no fly zone from 7am to 1pm today with a review at 9am. The no fly zone also includes a 60 mile safety buffer zone.

The hope is that the cloud will dissipate in the afternoon allowing flights to resume.

This comes on the day that EU transport ministers are meeting to discuss the award of state aid to an industry that has shouldered a massive burden of lost revenue and the huge cost of compensation for passengers. The cost for BA has been put at £100 million with Ryanair losing around £30 million.

With money being tight and the future of volcanic eruptions being as uncertain as it is one must assume that the cost of flying will greatly increase for the foreseeable future. Insurance companies may step up to the mark in time with products for both passengers and providers that take this financial risk into account, but the premiums could well be prohibitive at present.

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