Volcanic Eruption Still Disrupting Flights in Europe
Some flights to large parts of Europe resumed today after six days of widespread disruption caused by ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland. Following the political intervention of European Union transport ministers late yesterday, restrictions were partially lifted in some countries but there was little or no flying in a core area of northern Europe. Hopes of a more widespread resolution to the crisis were dashed when new ash clouds continued to spew from the volcano. At press time, flying was being permitted across the continent above 20,000 feet. But flights were either not permitted at all, or heavily restricted, in the following states and areas: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, northern France, northern Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine and UK. UK airspace and airports are due to open at 10 p.m. local time today, after the Civil Aviation Authority had reassessed the latest safety data from test flights. In other states, flight activity was starting to return to normal, but Eurocontrol and national air traffic control services warned that the situation could change at short notice. Over the first six days of the disruption, Eurocontrol estimated that flying activity in its airspace was almost 60 percent below normal levels. Hundreds of thousands of travelers are stranded worldwide and business aircraft operators have been able to make only very limited use of uncontrolled airspace for VFR flights. Meanwhile, NBAA and EBAA indicated that they fully intend to proceed with the EBACE show, which is due to open in Geneva on May 4.