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BBC World Service

Iceland restricts flights after volcanic eruption

Rebecca Singer May 23, 2011
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BBC World Service

Iceland restricts flights after volcanic eruption

Rebecca Singer May 23, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: There’s another erupting Icelandic volcano whose name no one can pronounce. And like its brother which caused all kinds of European travel problems last year this one could do the same within the next few days.

The BBC’s Rebecca Singer now on whether Europe’s ready for another round.


REBECCA SINGER: Last time it was black or white. If any ash detected and no, one was allowed to fly. This time the ash has more shades of grey. Better forecasting models can identify the size of the cloud and what it’s made of.

Michael O’Leary is the chief executive of low cost airline Ryanair. He was especially critical of the blanket shutdowns last year.

MICHAEL O’LEARY: We do inspections every time there’s a landing. If we notice any dust on the aircraft then we take appropriate procedures. But there is no ash cloud, by the time it gets to the U.K. or to continental Europe the thing has dispersed, that was our experience the last time. And I think the wide scale airspace shutdowns we saw last year won’t be repeated.

And don’t expect the airlines to ground their planes at the mere sight of ash — last year their profits were hammered when 10 million travelers were left stranded around the world. All eyes are currently on the weather and wind direction. But so far there’s no sign of ash over the rest of Europe.

In London, I’m the BBC’s Rebecca Singer for Marketplace

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