It was a trying time for passengers of KLM flight KL685 when the Boeing 747 had to abort its journey from Amsterdam to Mexico and return to base after 11 hours. The flight had crossed the Atlantic and was over Canada and on its way to Mexico City when it was forced to make a U-turn and come back to Schiphol. The reason was volcanic activity at the destination due to the eruption of Popocatepetl, just outside Mexico City. It meant the passengers had to endure an 11-hour ordeal in the air for no fault of theirs. If the information on the disturbance was known earlier, it would have saved the passengers and the crew from avoidable tension.

Daily Mail UK reports there was a large cargo of horses on board the aircraft. This meant the flight could not land at an intermediate airport. A representative of KLM explained – “Landing at another airport was not possible because of the visa requirements of passengers.” Moreover, there was a large consignment of animals that had to be taken care of and there was no other alternative but to undertake a return journey.

The eruption of the volcano affects flights

An active volcano in the vicinity of Mexico City forced a KLM flight from Schiphol to return to the starting point.

The flight had already crossed the Atlantic and was over New Brunswick in Canada when it decided to return. Once a volcano becomes active and erupts, it spews smoke and debris into the air and the molten lava disturbs lives on the ground. It transforms into a natural disaster and affects Travel by air because the smoke reduces visibility.

When that happens, airlines have to take a detour in order to avoid disturbing areas.

Daily Mail UK mentions about actions taken by the airline.

It says – the flight landed safely at Schiphol, and the passengers have been told they can avail of alternative flights. Incidentally, when Mount Merapi erupted in central Java in 2018, many flights were diverted from nearby locations like Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This volcano is the most active one in Indonesia.

KLM says it was due to volcanic ash cloud

According to the BBC, KLM’s flight KL685 from Amsterdam to Mexico City made a U-turn in midair because of a volcanic ash cloud. The aircraft was in the airspace over Canada when the volcanic activity from Popocatepetl near the Mexican capital forced the pilot to make an about-turn and fly back across the Atlantic. In the bargain, passengers remained in the air for 11 hours and disembarked in the same city from where it had taken off.

This volcano is the second highest peak in Mexico and is 43 miles from Mexico City. It has been active for the greater part of the year, and even earlier this month it spewed ash and gases high into the air. Volcanoes that become active have disrupted flights in the past because such circumstances will endanger the safety of the aircraft. A similar situation happened in 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland erupted. The result was a giant ash cloud that covered Europe and it led to the grounding of thousands of planes.