Hit or Miss? EasyJet unveils new technology to detect volcanic ash

Beating the ash EasyJet attracted headlines last Friday after it unveiled new technology that allows planes to detect volcanic ash.

The Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector (AVOID) sends images to pilots and an airline's flight control centre, which will allow pilots to avoid any ash cloud while in the air. The news follows months of travel disruption caused after an Icelandic volcano erupted in April, grounding hundreds of flights.

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The volcanic disruption is estimated to have cost the airline industry millions of pounds in lost business - as well as wrecking travel plans for thousands of travellers and causing major chaos at the airports.

But now budget airline EasyJet appears to have stolen a march on the industry by being the first carrier to be able to make ash cloud disruption history. AVOID (the Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector) may be a desperate acronym. But if its new technology is proven to work and makes planes safe during volcanic incidents, it has gained a unique and powerful selling point if the ash cloud returns.

It also repositions EasyJet as leading on innovation and protecting its customers and its business interests, which should help the company's reputation and stock price. Expect the airline's competitors to be fuming.


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