European Union Considers Helping Airlines Recover

Ash Plume from Iceland VolcanoAccording to the New York Times, the European Union on Tuesday warned governments against lavishing emergency aid on airlines to make up for losses from the eruption of an Icelandic volcano, but proposed other measures to help them recover from the week-long shutdown of air travel.

The E.U. Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said the European Commission’s own estimate of total losses ranged from $2 billion to $3.3 billion, taking into account losses by airlines, airports and tour operators.

The International Air Transport Association last week estimated lost revenue for airlines from the stoppage to be $1.7 billion—but that is before adding in the cost of hotels and meals that airlines have paid for stranded passengers.

Seeking ways to help airlines without giving one carrier an advantage over others, Kallas said that airlines should be allowed to expand their use of night flights to ensure that stranded passengers were returned home.

He also proposed temporarily easing rules governing the way take-off and landing slots are allocated at airports.

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