Chilean volcano ash clouds over Australia posed no danger to jet engines: Expert
Canberra, June 23 (ANI): An expert from Australia's leading authority on volcanic ash has said no jet engine would have been shut down by the ash cloud that brought domestic aviation to a halt recently in the country's southeast region.
Andrew Tupper, the head of the Darwin-based Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, said he knew of no documented evidence of engine damage caused by an ash cloud thousands of kilometres away from an eruption.
"You are not going to shut down engines at that sort of distance. I don't believe that any engines would have been shut down in Australia if planes had flown through the cloud," News.com.au quoted Tupper, as saying.
Tupper said he had researched a case where a 20-day-old ash cloud caused superficial damage to the outside of an aircraft and partially blocked an instrument that measured airspeed.
"The question is, if you can get damage from 20-day-old ash, what line do you draw to say that is acceptable? Do you want abrasion on the airframe? Do you want possible interference with the instruments?," said Tupper.
"What sort of damage would the airlines and passengers find acceptable if they fly through it?" he added.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, addressing the National Press Club defended the airline's cautious approach towards the Chilean ash cloud that made its second pass into Australian airspace.
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we would be taking increased risks that would put an increased safety burden on the operation by trying to fly below the ash or to do anything else like that," said Joyce.
"Qantas has a high standard. That is why we have the reputation we have and we will not put safety at risk," he added. (ANI)
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