Air France declares no anomaly after test flights

09:10, April 20, 2010      

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French airliner Air France announced several successful test flights on Monday without any anomaly detected by ash clouds to aircraft operations.

In accordance with French Civil Aviation Authority DGAC, the company operated two flights by Airbus A320 in South West France and another three by Boeing 777, from Marseille and Toulouse to Paris-Charles de Gaulles, Air France said in a statement.

Since "no irregularity was observed," the company planned to do more on Monday, including "one between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol by Airbus A320, and two from Marseille and Nice to Paris-Charles de Gaulle by Boeing 777."

"Today, several medium and long-haul flights are operating with no passengers on board... to Amsterdam and elsewhere. Several dozen flights have been operated in Europe and no abnormalities were reported on any of them," Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon was quoted in the statement.

Accordingly, he complained that European governments should "no longer continue managing the risk created by the Icelandic volcano in this manner," referring to the current general ban that has cost millions of euro every day in civil aviation industry.

The company provided buses to transfer stranded passengers from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to provincial airports where long-haul flights are expected to take place if weather permits, Air France said in the statement.

On Monday, only 13 long-haul flights heading to France were allowed to land in French provincial airports and five cargo flights will land at Paris airports, while departing flights from France include six from Toulouse and one from Pau, according to Air France.

For Tuesday, "Air France plans to increase this number to 17 long-haul flights and more if the air corridors become operational," the company insisted in the statement, citing the aviation ban has laid off "500,000 direct employees, and three times as many staff employed indirectly."

However, State Minister Jean-Louis Borloo declared later that successful test flights could not build up firm enough grounds for aviation ban lift.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced Sunday night to extend ban to airports in northern France at least until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.

A ministerial meeting scheduled at 16:15 Monday was expected to update the measures after a new discussion over the current air traffic difficulties.

Source: Xinhua


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