easyJet has unveiled an ash detector to minimise future volcanic activity disruption. The airline will trial AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector), which was created by Dr Fred Prata at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). The weather radar, which uses infrared technology, sends images to pilots and flight control centres to allow them to spot ash clouds up to 100km away between 5,000 and 50,000 feet altitude. From this information, pilots can adjust their flight plan to avoid the cloud. “The ash detector will enable our aircraft to see and avoid the ash cloud, just like airborne weather radars and weather maps make thunderstorms visible,” said easyJet Chief Executive Andy Harrison. Those in the control centres can use the system to build an accurate image of the cloud and open other airspace areas. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the industry should work together to develop solutions and said it would put them into use. “The CAA welcomes the fact that airlines are considering innovations such as this and we will do all we can to facilitate them,” said CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines. The first system test flight will use an Airbus A340 on behalf of easyJet.