EasyJet to use hi-tech ash cloud radar

EasyJet has unveiled a high-tech radar system to allow planes to fly around ash clouds after figures showing 215,000 of their passengers had been hit by the Icelandic volcano.

In its data for last month the airline revealed that 1,600 flights were cancelled after the ash cloud billowed across Europe.

The new technology it is introducing involves infra-red technology that allows pilots to see the damaging particles up to 62 miles ahead.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given it the go ahead and will be put into 12 planes by the end of the year.

Easyjet chief executive, Andy Harrison, said: "This pioneering technology is the silver bullet that will make large-scale ash disruption history."

Meanwhile figures showed that EasyJet still flew 7.9 per cent more people in May than a year despite the ash crisis because of the expansion of its routes.

The chaos cost the company up to £75m.

The average load factor of the plane – which takes into account how full flights were – was 85.8 per cent. That was up from 83.5 per cent in May 2009.

A total of 4.25m people took a flight with Easyjet in May, up from 3.95m a year ago.

EasyJet is planning to bring a class action lawsuit to win compensation for flight bans imposed by Europe’s air safety authorities in April and May.