April 20, 2010
This story about lifting the flight ban across the EU was published by EurActiv on 20th April 2010.
Flights across large parts of Europe were set to resume on Tuesday under a deal agreed by the European Union to gradually free up airspace closed by a cloud of ash hurled into the sky by an Icelandic volcano.
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said yesterday (19 April) after a ministerial video conference that more flights would now leave, easing days of disruption for millions of passengers.
A handful of flights left Amsterdam and Frankfurt late on Monday.
France said it was reopening some airports to create air corridors to Paris. Belgian and Italian airspace will open from 08:00 CET. However, planes should still be unable to leave Brussels before 14:00 CET today.
Meanwhile, British air traffic controllers warned a new ash cloud was headed for major air routes, though plans to reopen airports in Scotland remained in place for 08:00 CET.
European Union transport ministers agreed yesterday to gradually re-open air traffic, and defined three zones:
* One closest to the volcano, where the concentration of ash in the atmosphere is thickest and where air traffic will remain closed for safety reasons;
* another zone where partial restrictions on flights will be applied subject to local assessments and scientific advice, and;
* a third zone, where flights are unrestricted.
The gradual opening of European airspace will start at 08:00 CET this morning but the European Commission, which organised the transport ministers’ meeting via videoconference, was unable to state which countries would lift the ban, saying this was in the hands of national authorities to decide.
Technical work on identifying the exact boundaries of the three zones was still going on last night at Eurocontrol, which represents the air authorities in 38 European countries.
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