Low-cost carrier EasyJet is looking for an aircraft to test its prototype volcanic ash detection equipment this week, having a live case study to work with hanging over northern Europe.
The airline says it was originally hoping to test its Airborne Volcanic Identifier and Detector (AVOID) kit in June, by flying through ash spewed out by Mount Etna in Sicily.
But the sudden eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland this week, and the inevitable disruption to flights in northern Europe starting to kick in, means EasyJet has an ideal opportunity to carry out further tests.
An official says:
"By flying the equipment close to volcanic ash this will help to further validate the equipment and accelerate its development."
Away for the latest disruption, EasyJet is still in the middle of looking for other airlines around the Europe and officials at the European Commission in Brussels to support further funding for the technology and deployment on aircraft.
EasyJet is proposing 100 aircraft on the continent are fitted with AVOID (including 20 of its own) to ensure there is a comprehensive coverage of the continent during potential volcanic-triggered crises in the future.
The airline first mooted the idea of AVOID in June 2010.
The official continues:
"This latest eruption validates EasyJet’s recent calls for greater support with the development of new technologies such as AVOID to help limit disruption in European airspace from future volcanic activity."