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Emergency EU talks on easing air travel curbs

Emergency EU talks on easing air travel curbs
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EU transport ministers are to hold video-conference talks on easing air travel restrictions.

As the crisis caused by the drifting cloud of volcanic ash over Europe stretches into a fifth day German air traffic controllers have ordered monitoring tests.

Axel Raab of the German air traffic control authority said: “Of course we can understand the criticism of the airlines, currently they face incredible losses. For all of us it’s a first. This has never happened before and therefore our only source has been this organisation in Great Britain and we had to base our decisions on it.”

The UK organisation he is referring to is the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London part of a worldwide system set up by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

With 63,000 cancelled flights so far – costing nearly 150 million euros – airports and airlines are now questioning the need for stringent airspace curbs.

The giant cloud of fine mineral dust particles stretches from the Arctic Circle in the north
to the French Mediterranean coast in the south and from Spain in the west to Russia in the east.