Via my wife, I hear that residents of St. Petersburg are finding horrible brown spots appearing on their cars, which is the ash from the Icelandic volcano that has closed much of Europe’s airspace. And courtesy of the BBC we get the map below showing the extent of the ash cloud, and it would appear that parts of Russia, including St. Petersburg are affected:
But via the same BBC webpage, we also learn that although airspace is closed in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, UK; there are partial closures in Italy, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland, Sweden and France; and flights are operating in Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Spain.
Flights are operating in Russia with no partial closures despite the monster ash cloud hanging above St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport? Are the Russian airlines throwing caution to the wind and flying anyway? This report indicates flights have been cancelled, but implies that it is the destination airports which are closed, not the Russian airspace. Does anybody know? Certainly, when I was living in Sakhalin it was well known that the Russian airlines would continue to operate long after the Asiana flights had been postponed due to weather conditions.
The European airlines are already complaining that perhaps the airspace closures were unnecessary:
As several airlines questioned the curbs, some carried out test flights and reported planes showing no obvious damage after flying through the ash.
Give the Russians a call, they’ll let you know!