Skip to content

The model used to predict the spread of the volcanic ash was condemned as “outdated, inappropriate and imaginary” as the airlines criticised Monday’s closure of airports which led to the cancellation of more than 300 flights.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways, said the repeated imposition of no-fly zones had been a “gross over-reaction to a very minor risk”.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said the scientific model had produced “an imaginary black cloud” which had no credibility and should be replaced with the American version. […]

Mr Walsh said the scientific model used to analyse the ash was not up to the task.

“I am very concerned that we have decisions on opening and closing of airports based on a theoretical model,” he said.

“There was no evidence of ash in the skies over London yet Heathrow was closed.”

Mr Walsh said although safety of passengers and aircraft was paramount, a “much better and more sensible” approach was needed.

Mr O’Leary said the current Volcano Concentration Charts were “not only unreliable, but substantially fictitious”.

“It is frankly ridiculous that the flight plans of millions of air passengers across Europe are being disrupted on a daily basis by an outdated, inappropriate and imaginary computer generated model and it is time that these charts were done away with.

“It is time to do away with this model now and replace it with the US model which is a practical, safe and sensible response to passenger safety in the aftermath of further volcanic eruptions in Iceland.”

Full story