27-May-2011 10:47 AM

Second ash crisis is wake-up call for Europe: AEA

Association of European Airlines (AEA) announced (26-May-2011) it has met with European Commission’s Vice President Transport Siim Kallas to discuss the recent volcanic ash incident. During the eruption AEA member British Airways performed a verification flight, which entered areas confirmed as being in the “red zone”, but no ash was encountered. International Airlines Group Chief Executive and former AEA Chairman Willie Walsh stressed that decisions to restrict airspace must be based on multiple data sources, not only the information provided by the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC).[more]

AEA: “This latest Icelandic eruption has been a big wake-up call and an important test. While the reduced disruption clearly shows we have moved on, European governments are still not fully aligned when it comes to handling volcanic ash and forecasts remain over-reliant on a single data source. This time we saw a very different situation compared with last year, with far fewer cancellations. Last year airlines called for the freedom and responsibility to assess whether it was safe to fly and, during this latest eruption, many countries followed this approach. Ash danger levels and the data sources used to produce forecasts must be discussed further. The basis for forecasts must be agreed at European level.” Steve Ridgway, AEA Chairman and Virgin Atlantic CEO. Source: AEA, 26-May-2011.

AEA: “The weight of European regulation on our industry means we are losing out to other parts of world, which have very aggressive and joined up competitors. We do not fear competition. This is about connecting the trading world with Europe and ensuring the value of aviation is understood by the Commission, our politicians and Europe’s Member States. We are all passionate about and proud of the companies we run. We want to ensure that they prosper, not only for our customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers, but also for the European economy.” Steve Ridgway, AEA Chairman and Virgin Atlantic CEO. Source: AEA, 26-May-2011.

KLM: “It is frustrating that airlines are the only ones shouldering the consequences of volcanic ash, events in Japan and heavy snowfall. All we receive from other players in the supply chain is sympathy.” Peter Hartman, CEO. Source: AEA, 26-May-2011.

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