x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Eyjafjallajoekull, junior?

Another Icelandic volcano, another disruption to air traffic. But this time the world's people can at least pronounce the name of the mountain in question. And so far, at least, the eruption itself, too, may prove easier to manage.

Well, at least we can almost pronounce this one, and it might be hoped that the fallout will be easier to manage as well. For the second time in 13 months, an Icelandic volcano, this time Grímsvötn, is threatening to wreak havoc on weather conditions and air travel in Northern Europe. Grímsvötn began erupting on Saturday.

Last year, the eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull caused chaos across Europe and further, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at a cost of approximately $5 billion (Dh18.4 billion). It also reinvigorated the careers of a generation of Icelandic broadcast journalists who could actually pronounce its name.

Not so with Grímsvötn, which has yet to show anywhere near the same strength. But already there have been considerable delays across the UK, with some high-profile itineraries reshuffled. The US president Barack Obama arrived in the UK a day early, while Barcelona will also fly into London early for their Uefa Champions League Final against Manchester United on Saturday.

Closer to home, UAE-based airlines were concerned yesterday that flights to and from Europe might be affected.

Last year, thousands were left stranded, away from their homes, families and jobs. Let's just hope that this isn't an Eyjafjallajoekull all over again.