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Volcanic dust incident



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DEPARTMENT OF

— — n

VOLCANIC DUST INCIDENT

82/18 14.7.82

news release

There have been news reports that officials from the

Department of Aviation have criticised Indonesian air 'traffic .

controllers for allegedly failing to issue warnings to international

aircraft about volcanic dust over Indonesian air space.

The Department of Aviation has no knowledge of any such statements

by its official spokesmen or by anyone else.

The only official comment from the Department is as follows:

The incident occurred in Indonesian air space and involved a

Singapore Airlines aircraft and, as such, is outside Australia's

area of responsibility. _

The Indonesian authorities issued a notice to

airmen (Notam) following an earlier incident involving

a British Airways aircraft in the same region^

Indonesian authorities issued a further Notam

drawing yesterday's incident to the attention of pilots

and suggesting that they avoid the area;5 * The onlynobchsilons ™on whicn-rne"Australian "Department of

Aviation would become involved in an Incident would be if an

Australian aircraft was involved or the incident happened in

Australian air space. . .

Because the Department's prime responsibility in relation to

overseas incidents relates to Australian aircraft, the Department.

has been in close contact with Qantas following yesterday's

incident. . .

Qantas advised that soon after the incident it took steps to

reroute, its aircraft to avoid the area. · '

The Department was continuing to monitor the situation.

-2

Additionally·, the Department of Aviation* s

airways officers have been briefing all outbound flights

about the Indonesian Notam, suggesting avoidance of the

aread .

Consideration was being given in the Department

to ways in which this sort of volcanic phenomenom could

be detected on a more reliable basis'^

This consideration might include inquiries to

Indonesian authorities and others who might have

something to contributed

14 JULY 1982 CANBERRA