Most of Europe remains at a standstill

19 Apr 2010

Southern Europe, including parts of Spain, Portugal, the southern Balkan area, southern Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey continue to remain unaffected by the volcanic ash of the Iceland volcano and flight operations have been proceeding normally.

This is still not the case in the major part of European airspace. As of yesterday, April 18, 2010, about 80 percent of it remained closed to civilian air traffic in countries and areas that included Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, most of France, most of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, northern Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, north Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.

Eurocontrol, which supervises air traffic control network across the European Union’s 27 states, reported that only 4,000 of the normal 20,000 flight schedules took place yesterday. This brings the number of flights cancelled since the shutdown of airports to about 63,000.

Anxious to get back into action, airlines such as Air France, KLM and Lufthansa among others launched test flights into European air yesterday space and found no damage, which raised pressure on their governments to ease restrictions. The shutdown of airports since last week has caused tremendous chaos in global travel and commerce. Not only have thousands of passengers been stranded but cargo has been left rotting in warehouses.

Meteorologists, however, urged caution, saying the situation remained volatile with the Icelandic volcano’s continuing to spew dangerous grit that could knock out jet engines.

Business Traveller will bring web readers more updates as soon as they are available.

Margie T Logarta

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