IATA chief criticizes Europe's ban on airspace

17:52, April 19, 2010      

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Passengers wait at the Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany, April 17, 2010. German airspace will be closed until 8:00 am Sunday because of a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland expanding over Europe. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)

The chief of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) criticized in Paris on Monday that European government's general ban on airspace was inadequate and has brought considerable loss to civilian air transport.

Quoting previous losses the civil aviation had overcome or are overcoming after the Sept. 11 attack and the economic depression, IATA's Director General Giovanni Bisignani regarded the volcanic ash cloud as one unpredictable risk, "which has crippled the aviation sector."

He underlined that the current airspace ban "is costing airlines at least 200 million dollars a day in revenues, and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business."

At a press breakfast, while putting air traffic safety the top priority, Bisignani called for urgent action to re-open the airspace based on adequate assessment.

"Governments must reopen airspace based on data that tell us it is safe. If not all airspace, at least some corridors. Governments must improve the decision-making process with facts -- not theory," he urged.

IATA is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Canada, whose mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry.

Till Monday morning, many northern European countries maintained their total or limited airspace ban due to the continuing spreading volcanic ash clouds.

French General Direction of Civil Aviation also extended banning the reopening of airports north of Nice-Bordeaux line to 8:00 Tuesday local time.

British authority has prolonged its suspension to 00:00 GMT Tuesday. Italy maintained the airspace ban in northern area from 0700 GMT to 1800 GMT Monday.

Source: Xinhua


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