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U.K.-based easyJet will debut a new ash detector

Yesterday, the United Kingdom-based low-cost airline easyJet announced via its website that it will soon debut an ash detection device called the Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector, or “AVOID.”  It was invented by a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, and will be put to use on an Airbus A340 test flight within two months.

AVOID uses infrared technology to enable pilots to see an ash cloud as far away as 100 kilometers (50 nautical miles), between altitudes of 5,000 feet and 50,000 feet.  AVOID is said to work similarly to the weather radar instruments already present on commercial airliners.

The low-cost carrier easyJet was founded in 1995.  It flies more of the 100 most popular routes in Europe than any other airline, and it was the United Kingdom’s most popular airline in 2009, carrying 46 million passengers that year, according to its website.  Its largest hub is Gatwick Airport, 28 miles (46 kilometers) south of central London (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK). Its headquarters is at Luton Airport, 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of central London (IATA: LTN; ICAO: EGGW).

Comments on this development, from the Chief Executive of easyJet, Andy Harrison; Dr. Fred Prata, the inventor of the AVOID system; and Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority, can be read in the original article below.

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Volcanoes in Iceland could affect aviation for decades  (May 17, 2010)

Heathrow and Gatwick closed as of 1:00 A.M. local time Monday (May 16, 2010)

Keflavík Airport is closed again due to volcanic ash (May 14, 2010)

Eyjafjallajökull damage report, and spectacular new video (May 13, 2010)

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The spread of volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull over time (May 4, 2010)

original stories

easyJet Unveils Ash detector to End Large-Scale Disruption (easyJet)

Easyjet to Test Volcanic Ash Detectors on Its Aircraft (Aviation International News Online)

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