Airlines continue pushing to resume flying even after military aircraft damaged by ash


Facing mounting financial losses due to the dangers presented by volcanic ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano, civilian airlines continue to push to resume their flight schedules. The danger of flying through the ash is significant and evidenced by damage sustained to NATO F-16 fighters and Finnish Air Force F-18s in recent days.

Yesterday,  Dutch-based KLM said that the results of test flights it conducted showed no damage sustained to its aircraft from the volcanic ash plume now in the atmosphere over central and northern Europe. It was pressing civil aviation authorities to open European airspace to commercial travel after having been shut down in recent days.

However, military jets that conducted operations since the most recent eruption began on Wednesday reported internal engine damage as a result of the volcanic ash.

On Saturday, the Finnish Air Force released photos of engine damage sustained by F-18 Hornet fighter jets that flew through the ash plume on the morning of Thursday, April 15th. The agency reported that the exposure to the ash was short but the damage potentially significant had the exposure been longer.