Volcanic ash cloud grounds more flights and could bring summer of disruption
produce more ash over coming months
as increased activity from Eyjafjallajokull produced an ash cloud dense enough
to cancel hundreds of services, despite revised guidelines that now permit flying
through contaminated airspace.
remained open across the rest of the UK. The UK air traffic controller Nats said
it hoped “fewer restrictions” would be imposed today as the cloud moved in a southwesterly
direction, which allowed Edinburgh airport to reopen yesterday evening, although
Glasgow and Northern Ireland remained under no-fly zones.
density that is unsafe, we will see more no-fly zones,” said a CAA spokesman.
ash-contaminated clouds when none was allowed previously, will lessen disruption. “The new limit means that hopefully we will not see the levels of closures that
we had last month.”
estimate the duration was the history of Eyjafjallajokull. “The only thing we know for certain is that the last time, this volcano erupted,
it erupted for two years [from 1821 to 1823],” he said. The volcano appeared to
be producing mostly magma-based ash, he said.
wind, however. Without the unusual northerlies last month, the ash would have
stayed away from Europe’s crowded airspace.
the Atlantic and would keep any ash in the Arctic. Northerly winds on average
occur 15% of the time during the summer, a Met Office spokesman said.
very complicated picture, but we wouldn’t look more than about six days ahead
with any confidence.”
transport ministers this week played down the prospect of immediate state aid
for carriers. The six-day shutdown of European airspace cost airlines more than
£1bn, and the trade association for UK airlines yesterday urged EU transport ministers
to accelerate the reform of compensation rules making airlines responsible for
their stranded passengers, with multi-million pound accommodation and food costs.
to help passengers caught out by cancellation of individual flights, rather than
the prolonged closure of swaths of airspace.
year,” said Roger Wiltshire, secretary general of the British
bought policies since last month’s wave of disruption. Many insurers have refused
to pay out on claims from last month, citing clauses excluding disruption caused
by any kind of natural event. HSBC and the British
they warned they were unlikely to do so in future.
that they will not get back in time to vote in the general election.
to get back to Poplar in east London, where he is planning to vote for the Liberal
Democrats. “It’s very annoying. I was looking forward to voting. I’ve never not
voted before, but I’ve just got this text from Aer Lingus telling me the flight
has been cancelled. I’m thinking of getting a boat if it still looks like I can’t
get a flight tomorrow.”
said that the only emergency proxy vote allowed is for a medical emergency. To
clarify, I asked if this meant I would lose my vote entirely if flights were cancelled.
The answer was a definitive yes. I’m really surprised there has been no provision
Direct and M&S Money brands, said: “Although the bank was considering claims
from customers who bought policies before the first problems arose, it may not
do so in future.
… but it isn’t the case that the policy was actually covering you. It was just
in that instance we decided we would pay out.”
who bought cover before the initial disruption will be able to seek compensation
if there are any more problems, customers who had bought a policy since would
not be covered. RBS, which offered payouts on policies sold under its brands,
including Direct Line and NatWest, said it was trying to decide what to do about
if they are travelling within the EU or on an EU airline, but this does not extend
to pre-booked hotels, car hire or any other arrangements at their destination.
Under EU rules, airlines must cover the cost of putting travellers on a new flight
if theirs is cancelled and pay out for any accommodation and food costs while
passengers are waiting for departure. They are not liable for any money lost as
a result of cancelling.
Which? said the consumer group had been unable to find any insurer willing to
categorically state it would offer cover against cancellations resulting from
the ongoing eruption, with the exception of a specialist policy from the airline
Flybe. She added: “The only way to fully protect yourself is to buy a package
holiday.” Under the package holiday regulations, if a flight is cancelled the
travel operator must offer a rebooking or refund of the whole holiday.
in bookings since last month’s disruption, and that the extra protection afforded
by booking through an agent was likely to have been a factor. Sean Tipton, a spokesman
for Abta, said although there was no legal requirement for travel operators to
pay the bills of customers who were stranded abroad, they had done so last time
and customers could be confident that they would do so again in the event of further