A new study has further reiterated that concerns about aircraft safety during the Icelandic volcanic ash eruption in 2010 were well founded.

According to the new study, conducted at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, ash particles from the early phase of the eruption were small and abundant, and would have been a potential threat for aircraft flying through the cloud.

The particles could have melted inside jet engines, potentially causing them to fail mid-flight, the study reports.

Senior author Susan Stipp from Copenhagen University told the BBC that the aviation authorities were absolutely right in closing the airspace.

“We have presented a protocol so that, if answers are needed quickly in future, they can be had,” Stipp said.

“Then the data that are produced can be put into models to determine how far, how high and how wide the ash will spread that will be based more on fact than on guesswork.”

The study analysed the sizes and structures of ash particles, and compared ash ejected in the early, explosive phase of the eruption with ash from a later, more typical eruption of the volcano.

The analysis also reveals that ash particles from early in the eruption were particularly sharp and abrasive.

Ash bellowing out from Eyjafjallajokull volcano caused the largest closure of European airspace since World War II, with losses estimated at between €1.5bn and €2.5bn.