The scale of airspace closures currently seen in Europe is unprecedented, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Monday, charging European governments with a lack of leadership in handling airspace restrictions during the Icelandic volcano eruption.
IATA urged Europe’s governments to re-think of the decision-making process and called for an urgent meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations agency, to address the crisis.
“We are far enough into this crisis to express our dissatisfaction on how governments have managed it-with no risk assessment, no consultation, no coordination, and no leadership,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “This crisis is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business. In the face of such dire economic consequences, it is incredible that Europe’s transport ministers have taken five days to organize a teleconference.
“Governments must place greater urgency and focus on how and when we can safely re-open Europe’s skies,” added Bisignani, who is highly critical of blanket closures of airspace and a failure to consult with airlines. “This means decisions based on risk-management, facts and utilizing operational procedures that maintain safety.”
Test flights by the airlines “have not shown any irregularities or safety issues” Bisignani said, calling the scale of airspace closures unprecedented. He cited the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption as an of risk managed airspace closers with no compromise on safety.