Finland will allow some flights to take place through its southern airspace between noon and 6pm local time today. Its decision has been attributed to an opening in the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland and the results of an air sampling sortie performed last night.

A Finnish air force BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer conducted its third flight from Kauhava air base since 15 April carrying air sampling equipment, covering a route running from Tampere to Vaasa, Turku, Helsinki, Porvoo and back to Tampere.

The flight was performed following a request from airport operator Finavia, and collected data on airborne particulate matter was shared with Finnish civil aviation authority TraFi Aviation.

“There is an opening in the ash cloud over Finland on Monday 19 April, which makes it possible to ease the restrictions of air traffic,” TraFi says. “Tampere-Pirkkala and Turku airports will be opened for traffic from midday to 6 pm. The opening in the ash plume also allows overflights of southern Finland.”

Finland’s Transport Safety Agency also permits flights under visual flight rules below an altitude of 3,000ft (910m).

The Finnish air force late last week released images of the effects of volcanic ash on the engines of one of its Boeing F-18 fighters.

F-18 engine dust 1 - Finnish air force 
© Finnish air force

The aircraft was one of five Hornets airborne prior to the introduction of operating restrictions in Finnish airspace.