UK budget airline to test ash cloud detector

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LONDON (AP) — Budget airline easyJet PLC says it has acquired a ton of ash from Icelandic volcanoes for use in an experiment to test ash detection technology.

The U.K.-based carrier says the experiment aims to minimize the impact of events like the 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland, when air travel was crippled and millions of passengers were left stranded for days because the ash cloud was considered too dangerous to fly through.

EasyJet said Thursday the ash it collected will be dispersed by an Airbus plane into the atmosphere to create an artificial ash cloud. A second Airbus fitted with the detection technology will attempt to detect and avoid the cloud at more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters).

EasyJet said the experiment will take place in August.

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