Chilean volcanic ash cloud reaching Cape Town airspace

The ash cloud from the Chilean Volcano Puyehue-Cordón Caulle that has been erupting since June 4 has reached Cape Town airspace, affecting flights in and out of Cape Town International Airport. The ash cloud has circled the globe and has, in the last 2 weeks, disrupted flights in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia, and New Zealand.

Deon Cloete, General Manager of Cape Town International Airport, said on Saturday evening: “Airports Company South Africa would like to advise all passengers traveling today and in the next few days to contact their airline in order to confirm their flight details, as volcanic ash has been sighted in the Cape Town airspace and has impacted various flights in and out of Cape Town International, Port Elizabeth, and East London airports. Other airports will be affected as well. ACSA and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services company are monitoring the situation and will update travelers as and when new information becomes available.

Said Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism: “The volcano sent a massive plume of ash around the Southern Hemisphere, delaying flights out of many airports and causing inconvenience for thousands of passengers. It is still too early to gauge the ash cloud’s impact on tourism in Cape Town. We are expecting a marginal and short-term knock-on effect on tourism arrivals to the Mother City and are in close contact with ACSA to bring the latest updates to the tourism industry.”

Ash cloud causes no disruption to BA today

British Airways is conducting a verification flight to help determine procedures to continue flying in accordance with risk assessment methodology developed by ICAO, the global aviation governing body, over the last 12 months.

The flight will produce data that should help the understanding of the limitations of the models being used to forecast ash dispersal.

The flight, by a British Airways Airbus A320, departed from Manchester airport this evening to fly toward the Newcastle area and then over Glasgow and Edinburgh before heading south and arriving at London Heathrow.

The aircraft, and its flight performance, will then be subject to detailed inspection and analysis overnight by the airline’s engineers. All data will be made available to the CAA.

We regret the cancellation of today’s services between London and Scotland, and London and Newcastle. These cancellations were made entirely on the basis of the information given to us by the CAA and the Met Office.

We expect flights to all areas, including Scotland, to operate normally today.