ASH CLOUD: BA conducts ash research flight

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British Airways conducted a research flight on 24 May to allow it to refine procedures aimed at keeping its fleet flying during the ongoing ash event.

The carrier said the flight - carried out by one of its Airbus A320s - departed from Manchester, initially heading for the Newcastle area, and then continued through to the central belt of Scotland before returning to Heathrow.

It said that the data collected will "help the understanding of the limitations of the models being used to forecast ash dispersal".

The aircraft and its performance in flight will be subject to overnight analysis by BA's engineers. All data will be made available to Civil Aviation Authority.

This will be used alongside risk assessment methodology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization over the last 12 months, it added, to determine safe procedures.

Meanwhile, it said that it expects flights to all areas to operate as normal on 25 May.