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Air Crisis: Here We Go Again

  • April 21st, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

aircraft-view.jpegCOMMENTARY: International flights over Europe began to resume (21.4.10), nearly a week after the dust cloud from an Icelandic volcano had closed them down.

Airlines and the aircraft manufacturers had been running test flights, to establish levels of actual safety; meteorologists provided more intense and detailed information; the EU coordination mechanism kicked in, setting up a zonal system to delineate where, and when some rationed flying might take place; there was news that the volcanic discharge had at last started to disperse – though qualified by signs of a fresh eruption from the site.

With the green light for resumption of services, Singapore Airlines immediately began flights out of Australia; Qantas opted to wait for a day, aircraft remaining on the ground both in Australia and at Heathrow airport.

In a time of climate change marked by a healthy market in Sports Utility Vehicles, or endangering of species marked by wholesale destruction of habitat, will lessons be learned from this brief show of the world’s vulnerability, where there would be no air transport to sustain social and economic life?

Ingenuity has been sharpened though; certain European airlines have begun asking governments for money, to compensate for their commercial losses, (though not Qantas; “not a taxpayer issue”, it said); certain air travellers are asking the airlines for money, on similar grounds.