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aviation

Nov 21, 2012

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The minor eruption of Mt Tongariro in NZ’s north island this afternoon is not a threat to scheduled flights, and at this stage more an added scenic attraction for visitors who respect any road or track closures than anything else.

This could change in the sense that it cause local damage, if the eruptions become linked to severe earthquakes, mud slides and other unpleasant things that even minor volcanism can bring, such a hot rocks falling from the sky.

The airspace used by scenic flights over the scenic area is of course closed and any domestic flight that might come near Tongariro on a perfect day are being sent away. A New Zealand volcano web cam page can be found here.

Ninety minutes after the eruption, hardly a puff

The activity is scarcely on the same scale as the volcanism in Chile and Iceland which in recent times plagued southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere airspace respectively  with persistent ash clouds that caused widespread airspace closures or strict procedures for visual avoidance.

And New Zealand is downwind of Australia, making it even less likely that even a major eruption in the area, including nearby Mt Ruapehu, which is generally considered a more threatening volcano than Tongariro would cause any problems for air travel in this country.  We hope.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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