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Aviation warning: Will Russia’s Shiveluch volcano eruption impact flights?

In this photo provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Volcanology Institute, volcanic ash covers the ground and houses after the Shiveluch volcano's eruption.
In this photo provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Volcanology Institute, volcanic ash covers the ground and houses after the Shiveluch volcano's eruption. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Charlotte Elton
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What travellers need to know about this Shiveluch volcano eruption in Russia.

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Airlines have been put on alert after a massive volcanic eruption on Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula.

Shiveluch - one of the country’s most active volcanoes - started erupting at around midnight on Tuesday.

Within six hours, it had sent a 10km high ash plume into the sky and developed a 108,000 square km ash cloud.

The violent eruption carpeted nearby villages with 10 centimetres of ash.

If you’re catching a flight in the coming days, here’s everything you need to know

What is the Russia’s Shiveluch volcano?

Shiveluch has erupted around 60 times in the past 10,000 years, with the last major eruption in 2007.

The ash cloud has closed schools across the Kamakatcha Peninsula, around 4,200 km east of Moscow.

The volcano is still erupting, but the intensity is easing said Danila Chebrov, the director of the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical Survey.

“The volcano was preparing for this for at least a year ... and the process is continuing though it has calmed a little now.”

Yury Demyanchuk, The Russian Academy of Sciences' Vulcanology Institute via AP
The Kamchatka Peninsula, which extends into the Pacific Ocean about 6600 kilometers east of Moscow, is one of the world's most concentrated area of geothermal activityYury Demyanchuk, The Russian Academy of Sciences' Vulcanology Institute via AP

Will the Russian volcano impact flights?

Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) has issued an aviation warning.

The volcano "constitutes a potential hazard to international and local airlines", the bulletin warned.

It said crews should “take into account the peculiarities of this natural phenomenon when choosing routes for domestic and international flights.”

However, it is unlikely your flight will be impacted by the eruption. European and US airlines aren’t currently allowed to operate in Russian airspace anyway due to the war in Ukraine, so the impact will be minimal.

Why are volcanic eruptions dangerous for air travel?

In the past, volcanic eruptions have majorly disrupted international travel.

In 2010, wind carried an ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull over Northern Europe, leading to more than 100,000 flight cancellations.

Ash can cause engine failure and reduced visibility, making it unsafe to fly.

Video editor • Ian Smith

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