volcano eruption plane flights

Planes are not allowed to fly when a volcano has erupted for this reason

Flights have been hugely disrupted in the past few days following the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali.

Thousands of tourists have been left stranded after flights were grounded, as Bali Airport was closed.

It has left Bali suffering as tourists try to flee the region amongst fears the eruption could get worse in the following weeks.

So why are flights not allowed to fly during a volcanic eruption?

Ash clouds can be hard for pilots to spot on their radars

The reason behind it is due to the danger posed by the ash cloud to the plane.

Ash clouds can be hard for pilots to spot on their radars, meaning they can fly straight through them without realising.

Whilst jet engines can often melt some of the ash in the clouds it can then cool again in the engine which creates a layer on top of the turbines.

This can cause engines to fail which in turn increases the risk of a plane crash.

Emile Jansons from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Volcanic Ash Advisory in Darwin explained to News.com.au: “[Volcanic ash] has the potential to shut down jet engines if the plane is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“That’s why airlines are very responsible in their flight planning.”

volcano eruption plane flights

A volcano eruption has affected flights before by causing the engine to fail

Alongside this, it can also affect the air inside the cabin, meaning masks may drop as well as the visibility outside for the pilots flying the aircraft.

Any pilots who are flying through the area inadvertently will spot what is called St Elmo’s fire, which is a glow around the plane.

They can then get out of the area immediately in the hope of avoiding the ash clouds effects.

A famous case of engine failure due to ash cloud particles was in 1982 after a British Airways flight had all four engines fail.

volcano eruption plane flights

A volcano eruption emits an ash cloud that can cause engines to fail

The Boeing 747 plane was flying over Mount Galunggung during a journey from Malaysia to Australia.

During the five-hour journey, the engines failed one by one over the Indian Ocean, causing the plane to essentially become a glider.

Thankfully, after getting out of the area and due to the pilots quick thinking, they were able to restart all of the engines before landing safely.

Miraculously, everyone survived without any major injuries, with a later investigation finding that the ash cloud was dry which is why it didn’t show on the radar.

Source of Travel News