Announcement

Risk of UK airspace closures next week

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Department for Transport has issued a statement on possible UK airspace closures next week due to the continuing volcanic activity in Iceland.

Due to continuing volcanic activity in Iceland and prevailing weather conditions, there is, if the volcano continues to erupt at current levels, a risk of UK airspace closures early next week. On current predictions, closures could begin as early as Sunday 16 May and are likely to last until Tuesday 18 May. Within this timeframe, different parts of UK airspace including airspace in the south east are likely to be closed at different times.

However, the predictions remain fluid and air passengers are advised to check with their airlines before taking any further action. If airspace restrictions become necessary, NATS (the UK’s air traffic services provider) will make announcements as soon as possible.

In addition, Ministers have today agreed that from now on five day ash prediction charts will be made available to airlines, other transport providers and the public on the Met Office website. Previously only 18 hour forecasts have been available. However, it should be stressed that the five day charts are based on assumptions about future volcanic activity and therefore remain tentative.

Statement from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond

“The Government is carefully monitoring this situation and the safety of passengers will remain our paramount concern.

“We have taken the decision to publish five day forecasts as we want airlines, other transport providers and the public to have the best possible information. However, the situation remains fluid and these forecasts are always liable change.

NATS - the UK’s air traffic services provider - will advise of any airspace closures as and when they become necessary and I urge passengers to check with their airlines before taking any action.”

Further information

It is important to note that predictions remain fluid and passengers should contact their airline before taking any further action. Visit FCO travel advice for those affected by volcanic ash disruption for more information, including general advice on health and travel insurance.

5 day volcanic ash prediction charts (Met Office)