An eruption of Pavlof Volcano has caused regional flight cancellations in the area, Reuters reports. Anchorage-based PenAir, which operates regional flights in southwest Alaska, has canceled about a dozen flights as the carrier waits for the ash cloud to dissipate.
At 22,000 feet high, the ash plume from the volcano is still too low to threaten commercial flights operating at 30,000 feet or higher, which typically pass between Asia and North America, Reuters reports. That could change, however, as the eruption could worsen quickly, the Alaska Volcano Observatory tells Reuters.
Trace ash has fallen on the Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon and could pose possible health risks. "It's dangerous for the people downwind of it, because you don't really want to breathe in that fine ash that long," Rick Wessels, a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, tells Reuters.
PenAir CEO Danny Seybert tells the Associated Press and ABC News that these disruptions are not unusual. “It’s one of the situations that Mother Nature presents itself along our route structure.”
This is the second time this month that a volcano has threatened Alaska air travel. Earlier in May, the Cleveland Volcano erupted, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to raise the aviation alert level from yellow to orange. The ash cloud from that eruption, however, was also too low to disrupt major commercial flights.
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