April 19th
2010

European Airports status on the fifth day after the ash cloud

Europe seeks to open its airspace after five days of chaos

Today, Monday is estimated to recover approximately 30% of the European air traffic, although it will take time to get back to normality. The technicians of Eurocontrol analyzed the progression of the cloud and the information facilitated by the Flight companies which are seeking to demonstrate that they can fly despite the ash cloud of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjall.

After five days of chaos, 63,000 canceled flights and millions of affected passengers, Brussels begins to re-evaluate the air lock, since, according to the Transport Commissioner, they cannot wait until the ashes disappear completely.
Hence, companies have cast doubt on the proportionality of measures which, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have had a cost of over 200 million dollars a day (about 150 million Euros).

Today, will be studied meticulously the test flights without passengers successfully completed by several airlines. Their planes have flown over the volcanic ash cloud without registering any incident that would jeopardize safety, according to their experts.
Nevertheless, according to the latest news, a NATO fighter jet flying over Europe has suffered damage in the engine.
These reports are on the table at the meeting of the ministers of Transport of the European Union in order to contrast the data and find alternatives to the current mess.

United Kingdom has proposed diverting transoceanic flights to Spain as an alternative route for its citizens, which will connect with the islands by boat or via the Eurotunnel under the Channel. Spain would thus work as a scale to their countries of origin for all European Union citizens waiting for their flight from the other continents.

Meanwhile the airports in southern Europe are functioning, the British airspace presents a worse perspective, where the ash cloud could stay several days. Therefore it won´t open, at least until eight o’clock in the afternoon.

In Germany, this Sunday, several aircrafts could start, but at ten in the night again was ordered the closure of 14 of its 16 airports, including Frankfurt.

In Spain, at this time all airports are open, but this Sunday have been closed during a few hours the airports in the north of the peninsula (including Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca).

The closure of airports in England and the cancellation of flights from Spain led a great number of British travelers to use alternatives like taking the ferry to cover the route from Bilbao to Portsmouth, in some cases after crossing the Peninsula from Andalusia in a rented car.

Even though the airports begin operating, the airlines will take days to go back to normal due to organizational matter. Thus, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has announced the cancellation of all flights to Northern Europe until noon on Wednesday.

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