By Amy Wilder.
As seismic activity increases beneath Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano, experts warn of a potential eruption that could have far-reaching consequences for air travel. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has been closely monitoring the situation, raising the alert level, and prompting discussions about the potential impact on both commercial and general aviation operations.
The Icelandic Met Office reports a surge in seismic activity near the volcano, signaling a possible eruption in the coming days and prompting the evacuation of nearby Grindavik.
The memory of the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull looms large in the collective consciousness. The event led to widespread disruptions in the aviation industry, with volcanic ash clouds drifting across Europe, causing the largest peacetime closure of the continent’s airspace. The closure affected approximately 100,000 flights, stranding millions of passengers and resulting in an estimated economic impact of billions of dollars lost. More recently, the 2014 eruption of Bárðarbunga led to temporary airspace closures and flight diversions.
The Keflavik International Airport (BIKF) in Iceland holds particular significance for general aviation pilots navigating across the Atlantic. Serving as a vital waypoint between Europe and North America, Keflavik is a crucial refueling and stopover point for smaller aircraft making transatlantic crossings. An eruption near Keflavik could impact flight routes, necessitating alternative plans for GA pilots navigating the challenging Atlantic airspace.
Volcanic ash clouds pose a significant threat to aviation, as they can damage aircraft engines and pose risks to flight safety. The U.S. Geological Survey emphasizes that volcanic ash clouds are composed of fine particles and glass that can cause engine failure and damage crucial aircraft components.
Pilots are advised to stay informed about volcanic activity and exercise caution when flying near…