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Flight restrictions 'need reassessing'

19th April 2010

Europe's air industry is questioning whether the widespread curbs on travel prompted by volcanic ash from the Iceland eruption are necessary.

A joint statement from the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and ACI Europe, which represents the continent's major airports, suggested that the 'unprecedented' closure of almost all the region's airspace could be an over-reaction to the dangers.

The groups pointed out that volcanic eruption recommendations in other parts of the world are not as strict as the ones currently being seen in Europe, while AEA general secretary Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus claimed verification flights have shown the ash creates 'no irregularities'.

Olivier Jankovec, director general ACI Europe, added that the closures have affected more than 6.8 million passengers and caused 313 airports to cease operations.

'While safety remains a non-negotiable priority, it is not incompatible with our legitimate request to reconsider the present restrictions,' he commented.

A statement from the Met Office revealed that it is producing forecasts about the spread of the ash cloud four times a day for air traffic control body Nats and the Civil Aviation Authority to use in their assessment of the situation.

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