Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcanic Ash Still Hampering Travel in Europe

(CNN) -- Here are the latest highlights regarding problems for air travel caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

New developments:

• The volcano is continuing to erupt, but the ash is not as dense as it was over the weekend, said Urdur Gunnarsdottir, a media officer at the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland. Saturday was the worst day so far in terms of ash, she said.

• "There cannot be any compromise on safety" when deciding when to open European airspace, said Siim Kallas, the European Commission vice president in charge of transport, as some airlines press to be allowed to fly.

The decision "must be based on science," he said.

Airlines cannot apply directly to the European Union for bailout funds, he added -- national governments must be the ones to make the request.


• About 8,000 to 9,000 flights are expected to take off Monday in European airspace, according to traffic authority Eurocontrol. About 28,000 flights take place on most Mondays.
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* Air Travel
* Travel and Tourism
* Transportation
* Western Europe

• European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ordered formation of a group to study the effect of the volcanic ash cloud on the European economy and the air travel industry.

• Airports have lost close to 136 million euros ($184 million U.S.) so far, said Olivier Jankovec, director general of Airports Council International Europe, a group that represents airports. More than 6.8 million passengers have been affected, he said.

• EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said Sunday that if the ash cloud continues "moving as it moves, then tomorrow, almost 50 percent of European [Union] space will be risk free." That would allow more flights to resume, he said. "But we'll see [Monday] what the picture shows."

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• The disruption is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues, said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association. an industry trade group. He told CNN on Monday that if flight restrictions continue, some small- and medium-sized airlines could be put in jeopardy.

• The International Air Transport Association criticized European governments "for their lack of leadership in handling airspace restrictions" and "urged a re-think of the decision-making process" for closing European skies.

• About 5,000 flights took off Sunday in European airspace, according to Eurocontrol. About 24,000 flights take place on most Sundays.

• Results of test flights show "there's no impact" in European Union airspace from the volcanic ash that has disrupted air travel this week, according to Diego Lopez Garrido, the European Union's secretary of state.


• Austrian airspace, including all Austrian airports, reopened at 5 a.m. local time Monday (11 p.m. ET Sunday), said the Austrian aviation agency Austro Control. It will continue to monitor the situation and has not ruled out another closure in the coming hours.


• Flights into and out of St. John's, Gander and Deer Lake, Newfoundland, may be affected by volcanic activity, AirCanada said.


• There will be no flights in Danish airspace before 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) Monday.


• There will be no flights in or out of Finnish airports before 6 p.m. (11a.m. ET) on Monday.


• Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will remain closed until 8 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) Tuesday by order of the French Civil Aviation Authority, Air France said on its Web site late Saturday.

• France reopened airports in Toulouse, Montpellier, Pau, Tarbes, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Nice, and Marseilles until 3 p.m. Monday (9 a.m. ET), when the situation will be reassessed.

• Air France is busing passengers from de Gaulle to airports in the south of the country.

• It plans to have seven flights leave France on Monday: six from Toulouse airport, and one from Pau.

• It also hopes to have nine nine flights fly into France on Monday, into airports in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice and Marseilles.

• The French national rail company SNCF is adding 80,000 extra places on the Eurostar high-speed trains running from Paris to London this week. Tickets will cost a special fare of 96 euros (about $130) round trip, less than half the normal last-minute price.


• The flight ban over Germany has been extended to 8 p.m. local time Monday (2 p.m. ET) and applies to all airports in the country, the German aviation safety authority said.


• Ireland extended its airspace closure through 1 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) Monday and said restrictions past then were "likely" in light of current weather forecasts.


• The airspace in northern Italy is closed until 8 a.m. local time Tuesday ( 2.m. ET), the country's civil aviation authority said. Airspace throughout the rest of the country opened at 7 a.m. Monday (1 a.m. ET), but the situation remains fluid with officials checking how long it can remain open, the civil aviation authority said.


• The airspace over Oslo airport (Gardermoen), and Kjevik, Torp and Rygge airports opened Monday.


• About half the airspace in Poland is open, but that over Krakow remains closed, an airport official in the historic city said Monday.


• Flights have been delayed and canceled at 10 Russian international airports, mostly in the European part of the country, the transport ministry said.

• Moscow's international Sheremetyevo airport has been affected by far more than others: 277 cancelled flights and 59 delayed, with more than 28,000 people stranded.

• Throughout Russia, 411 flights were canceled and 77 delayed, affecting more than 34,000 passengers, the Russian transport ministry said.


• All 16 airports in Spain were scheduled to reopen at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET) -- several hours earlier than previously expected, the government announced.


• The airspace north and west of the flight corridor from Stockholm to Gothenburg opened Monday morning. The airspace around Bromma Airport has also opened.


• Switzerland is not permitting flights before 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) Monday, the government said.


• Thai Airways, based in Bangkok, estimates the cloud is costing the airline $3 million a day and has stranded 6,000 of its passengers.

The Netherlands

• A spokeswoman for KLM, one of the airlines that conducted test flights, told CNN the flights show European airspace is safe, with the exception of Iceland.

United Arab Emirates

• Emirates airline says the disruption has already cost it $50 million.

United Kingdom

• The British Royal Navy is deploying two ships, HMS Ocean and HMS Ark Royal, to rescue travelers stranded by the ash, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced. It's not clear where the ships are now or how long it would take them to get to their destinations, the Ministry of Defense said.

• Restrictions across British airspace will remain in effect until at least 1 a.m. Tuesday (8 p.m. ET Monday).

• British Airways canceled all flights in and out of London on Sunday and Monday, the airline announced.

Other countries

• There are restrictions on civil flights across most of northern and central Europe. This swath includes Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

- By the CNN Wire Staff

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