Turbine Engine Powered Aircraft Operation in Known or Suspected Volcanic Ash Contaminated Airspace - Service Difficulty Alert

AL 2010-01
28 april 2010


In the wake of recent Mount Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland, this Service Difficulty Alert (SDA) is issued to advise the operators of turbine engine powered aircraft operating in known or suspected volcanic ash contaminated airspace, of recently published Maintenance and Operational Instructions from respective aircraft and engine manufacturers.

This SDA highlights recent actions and emphasizes the need for operator awareness when operating in European airspace, while the Icelandic volcano is still active.


As result of the 20 March 2010, Mount Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland, a vast section of airspace is contaminated with the drifting volcanic ash cloud from the eruption.

Although a specific airworthiness safety concern has not been determined, volcanic ash can present operational hazards to turbine engines. The severity of the hazard is dependent on the ash concentration level and the operating time in the contaminated airspace.

Based on the available data, aircraft and engine manufacturers have identified and published specific maintenance tasks for aircraft/engines that may have been exposed to or operated in known or suspected volcanic ash contaminated airspace.

Recommended Action:

  1. The European National Authorities may establish operational limitations. Operators are advised to operate within those limits as specified by the State(s) for which flight operations are planned.
  2. Follow aircraft and engine manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions pertaining to operations in known or suspected volcanic ash contaminated airspace.
  3. Report any inadvertent encounter with higher than allowable ash concentration or any other anomalous engine behavior to the respective aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Note: As of 21 April 2010 some of the Canadian manufacturers (including P&WC and Bombardier) have issued publications that address the subject issue.

Defects, malfunctions and failures occurring on aeronautical products are to be reported to Transport Canada, Continuing Airworthiness in accordance with CAR 521 mandatory Service Difficulty Reporting requirements.

For more information contact a Transport Canada Centre; or A.K. Durrani, Continuing Airworthiness, Ottawa, at 613-952-4357, facsimile 613-996-9178, or e-mail mailto:CAWWEBFeedback@tc.gc.ca

For Director, National Aircraft Certification


Derek Ferguson
Chief, Continuing Airworthiness

Note:  For the electronic version of this document, please consult the following Web address: www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/certification/menu.htm