19th April - Today's News: Ash Disruption Continues

For the first time in our history, the MBA have cancelled a workparty due to volcanic activity - but don't worry, not because of OTT health and safety concerns, simply because the organiser is stuck abroad and can't get home .... Current projections suggest the ash cloud will be denser over Britain tomorrow and Wednesday, but with the situation slowly improving thereafter.

This morning, airlines hit back at ban as planes are grounded until 1am Tuesday (and I'm certain over Britain that will again be extended). But whilst ash test flight plane checked at Cardiff airport, I would rather trust non airline experts. For example, the Finnish air force warns of volcanic dust damage in fighter jets whilst in the UK the Met Office reported more ash at varying levels in a test flight on Sunday than they'd seen last Friday. The Met Office also issue regular ash observations and advisories as well as running a useful blog citing latest reports. In situations like this, who would you trust most? I haven't flown for 30 years, but I still don't want a jumbo jet landing on my head ...... And besides, I rather like this contrail free sky. I never realised just how much impact air traffic has in creating thins whisps of cirrus and cirrostratus, even when more obvious contrails quickly dissipate. Maybe air traffic should be restricted to just 2 or 3 days a week in future? Empty skies a glimpse of world without air travel. I think we should take note.

A useful summary from Michael Hanlon in the Daily Mail on how we could all be victims of the volcano and why we must hope for rain to get rid of the ash. And note his final words: "...if the planes remain grounded for a long time, many companies could realise that a lot of international business travel is unnecessary."

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown announces Navy fleet to rescue stranded UK nationals (shades of Dunkirk!) whilst as the ash spreads west, Newfoundland flights cancelled - would they do this if, as the airlines insists, there is no danger?

And it's not just Europe suffering, with Iceland volcano wilting Kenyan flowers - indeed, forget airlines and wealthy western businessmen and holidaymakers, it's 3rd world farmers who may end up paying the biggest price in real terms. Though it would be nice if this debacle led to a rethink on the way we obsessively import by air goods, especially foodstuffs, we don't really need (no, you do not need 'fresh' strawberries in January, however much you might desire them!!!) - when the countries producing the goods would be better serving their own people and region.

And the Ukranian take on all this? Volcano in Iceland has provoked a powerful storm in eastern Europe - and they mean a storm literally. They're blaming the volcano "for the sharp deterioration of the weather and disasters around the world, particularly in Russia. " Those crazy Russians .....


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