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Lufthansa demands EU compensation for volcano losses

AFP · 7 Jun 2010, 17:42

Published: 07 Jun 2010 17:42 GMT+02:00

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"We don't want any subsidies but we want compensation since we have been forced to be grounded and it was not necessary," Wolfgang Mayrhuber told a Berlin press conference organised by the International Air Transport Association.

Around 100,000 flights were cancelled in April after EU authorities closed large parts of the continent's airspace to commercial traffic amid fears that volcanic ash could severely damage jet engines.

Airlines lost an estimated $1.8 billion dollars (€2.2 billion) as a result of the decision.

"There is probably an intelligent way to compensate airline companies," Mayhruber said.

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He suggested one way would be to freeze a European emission trading scheme known as ETS that aims to cap greenhouse emissions.

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Your comments about this article

20:28 June 7, 2010 by wood artist
There were two problems with the situation.

The first is that the closures were based upon an untested computer model, and no effort was put into matching the predictions with reality. When the airlines, specifically Lufthansa and BA were allowed to conduct test flights they found no damage, and in one case couldn't even find the "dangerous cloud."

The second is that even after that evidence was presented, the "authorities" still refused to open the airspace, thus prolonging the agony.

There was no reason not to make test flights, or even just launch weather balloons, to get a sense of what was really up there and how dangerous it might be. The airlines are right to be upset.

11:52 June 10, 2010 by LancashireLad
This is all down to market forces and nothing else.

Didn't Lufthansa post substancial profits over this last quarter? You'd think that their shareholders would be happy with that, wouldn't you?

It's all very well saying that the test flights found nothing ... but what about the cumulative effect of continually flying through even low ash concentrations? (Suggestion made by a professional pilot on pprune)

I do agree though that the authorities could have done more to ascertain how big the risk was (weather baloons for example), but while it was not clear to anyone (would you want to trust computer models, however recent?) I believe the decision to ground the planes was justified.

This claim by Lufthansa et.al is purely pandering to market forces and shareholders
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