Aberdeen ‘returns to normal’

Business at Aberdeen Airport has returned to normal, following a week of uncertainty in the wake of the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Grimsvotn.

Grimsvotn, essentially, a volcanic ‘environment’ of underground lakes, glaciers, and of course, a volcano, is located in the southeast of Iceland, in the region of the Vatnajökull National Park. The mountain’s violent disposition is well documented, but as Grimsvotn’s caldera is buried beneath several hundred metres of ice, the biggest threat to the local populace is a ‘jökulhlaup’, or glacier burst, rather than volcanic bombs or lava flows.

However, while the UK is unlikely to feel the heat of Grimsvotn’s temper, prevailing winds frequently bring Icelandic volcanoes into contact with British and European aeroplanes, albeit through drifting ash clouds.

Grimsvotn, in a similar fashion to neighbouring volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, in April 2010, forced the cancellation of “hundreds” of flights from Aberdeen Airport on May 24 2011, after meteorologists detected the now-familiar trace of volcanic ash in the atmosphere. STV, the Scottish arm of TV network, ITV, told “tales of woe”, as travellers bound for Germany, London, and even the United States found themselves grounded.

The mood in Dyce was one of reluctant acceptance, rather than anger: “it can’t be helped, so we will just wait and see what happens”, explained a Heathrow-bound passenger.

Local newspaper, the Press and Journal, indicated that early morning commuters in the Highlands had encountered “a covering of dust on their cars”. However, despite the evidence, one outspoken airline boss was reluctant to believe that a cloud of volcanic ash was hanging over Scotland and the North of England. Michael O’Leary, boss at Ryanair, conducted his own ‘test-flights’ last week, before declaring the skies, “perfectly safe”. “The predictions are rubbish”, the Irishman said.

Ryanair
currently offers a solitary flight to Dublin from Aberdeen Airport.

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