EasyJet sees possibility of testing ash-detector during eruption

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UK budget carrier EasyJet is considering using the Grimsvotn volcanic eruption to test its new ash-detection system.

The carrier has been backing development of a system known as the Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector and was looking to test it in a volcanically-active region - possibly Asia-Pacific.

But the carrier admits that the eruption of Grimsvotn potentially provides an opportunity to experiment closer to home.

EasyJet would not be able to use its own aircraft, as the equipment is not yet certified, but said it was looking into sourcing another platform - possible an aircraft from the UK Met Office.

"It's all dependent on the availability of the Met Office aircraft," said a spokesman for the carrier. "We're looking into [a possible test]."

The system uses infra-red technology to transmit an image of ash-contaminated atmosphere to the cockpit, much like weather radar.

EasyJet maintains that a relatively small base of equipped aircraft would provide enough coverage to enable a comprehensive map of affected airspace to be created.