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No-Fly Zone

Iceland lowers aviation risk from volcano to orange alert

Iceland’s Meteorological Office said there is no sign of an eruption.

Updated 13.40pm

THE AVIATION RISK from Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland has been lowered back to an orange alert.

This is the second highest level.

The Civil Protection Department tweeted:

Earlier two earthquakes measuring over 5 in magnitude — the biggest yet — shook Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano.

Iceland’s Meteorological Office recorded earthquakes of 5.3 and 5.1 in the early hours. It said there were no signs of an eruption.

The volcano, underneath Iceland’s vast Vatnajokull glacier, has been rattled by thousands of small earthquakes over the past week.


On Saturday scientists reported a small eruption under the ice, but it was not visible on the surface, and the Met Office later said it appeared to have stopped.

No-fly zone 

Authorities have declared a no-fly zone of 100 nautical miles by 140 nautical miles (185 kilometers by 260 kilometers) around the epicenter as a precaution.

A 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled. Aviation officials closed Europe’s air space for five days out of fear that volcanic ash could harm jet engines.

Iceland Volcano AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Any new eruption is likely to be less disruptive. European aviation authorities have changed their policy, giving airlines detailed information about the location and density of ash clouds but leaving decisions to airlines and national regulators.

140824_1105 Earthquakes during last 48 hours in Iceland. The green stars are earthquakes over a 3 magnitude. Icelandic Met Office Icelandic Met Office

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said there is “no sign of a full eruption and at present, the aviation colour for the Bardarbunga volcano remains red as an imminent eruption cannot be excluded”.

All operations in Irish and European airspace remain normal. The IAA is liaising with all relevant organisations and is continuing to closely monitor the situation. If any threats to aviation arise we will quickly inform the travelling public.

A spokesperson for the IAA told RTÉ News that they are in constant contact with authorities in Iceland.

Iceland-Volcano AP AP

Britain’s National Air Traffic Service said it was monitoring what it called a “dynamic situation” but was expecting normal operations today.

The agency said it was using alternative flight paths across the Atlantic as a precaution.

Speaking at a press conference this week, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said that while they are concerned about recent developments in Iceland, there is a “relatively small chance of affecting flights going south between Ireland and Spain”.

He added that he didn’t feel that there would be the same disruption as in 2010 as the authorities had learned lessons.

Additional reporting by Christina Finn

Read: Uh oh: Iceland ups volcano aviation alert to red>

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