More Dutch test flights to assess ash
Amsterdam, April 18, 2010
The Netherlands said more test flights would take place on Sunday to assess whether there was any danger in its airspace from volcanic ash after an earlier test flight was conducted safely.
The announcement came even as air travel across much of Europe was paralysed for a fourth day on Sunday because of the huge cloud of volcanic ash.
Dutch airline KLM said it carried out a test flight on Saturday without any apparent damage. Germany's Lufthansa flew 10 planes in separate tests.
"The KLM test flight in the Netherlands, which took place under controlled conditions, has been safe. Abroad, several test flights have also been safe," the Dutch Transport Ministry said in a statement
"The goal of these test flights is to do measurements in Dutch airspace on the possible consequences of the ash on airplane parts," the ministry.
Volcanic ash spreading from Iceland has led to massive air travel disruptions across Europe in recent days and problems worsened on Saturday as the cloud of ash spread southeast across the continent.
Volcanic ash has an abrasive effect and can strip off vital aerodynamic surfaces and paralyse an aircraft engine, while aircraft avionics and electronics can also be damaged. -Reuters