Digital News Report- Mount Redoubt has continued to cause problems for flights in and out of Alaska after large-scale eruptions began on March 22nd. Five days and 12 eruptions later, Alaska Airlines has resumed some of their flights in and out of Anchorage after some reports stated that the ash cloud seems to have moved out of the area. Due to the unpredictability of the volcano, travelers are advised to go to alaskaair.com or called 1-800-ALASKAAIR for information on delays and cancellations.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the weather and ash from Mount Redoubt to assess our ability to safely operate flights in and out of Alaska, and we may make further adjustments to our schedule if conditions change,” said Ben Minicucci, chief operating officer and executive vice president of operations for Alaska Airlines. “We’re making every effort to re-accommodate passengers whose flight schedules have been disrupted by this recent eruption.”
In addition to commercial air traffic, the Air Force has also been affected by the eruption. The 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, has moved several planes to avoid damage volcanic ash from Mount Redoubt, the base announced Thursday. Elmendorf Air Force Base is located near Anchorage, which is about 100 miles NW of Mount Redoubt. As much as an 1/8 of an inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.
They plan on moving moving four F-15Cs, one E-3 AWACS and one C-17 to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and two C-17s to McChord Air Force Base in Washington. Planes that are not being moved will be locked inside of hangers to protect them from the falling ash. The base and airfield remains open.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has also seen an increase in cargo traffic due to planes being rerouted. The Anchorage airport is a major refueling stop for air cargo between Asia and North America, but due to its periodic closure after the eruption, cargo planes are being forced to divert to Sea-Tac. There has been three times the amount of Cargo traffic at Sea-Tac since Redoubt first erupted five days ago.
“We are making every inch of our facilities available to keep the economic engine of goods flowing without an impact on regular passenger traffic,” said Sea-Tac Airport Director of Airport Operations Mike Ehl.
The Drift River Terminal, located directly on the Cook Inlet near Redoubt, has also been at risk from mudflows and lahars. So far the tank farm seems mostly unaffected, but some reports indicate that water may have made it into some of the industrial buildings that house offices, equipment and pumps. The Drift River tank farm houses 148,000 barrels (6.2 million gallons) of Cook Inlet crude oil located in two of the seven tanks. The facility is currently shut down due to its close proximity to the volcano.