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European Airlines Question Volcanic Ash Flight Ban

Date: 19.04.2010

Europe's airlines and airports have called for an immediate reassessment of flight restrictions imposed because of volcanic ash from Iceland.

Two bodies that represent most of Europe's airlines and airports say they question the extent of the flight restrictions currently imposed.

European airlines have carried out test flights to see if it is safe to fly through the ash.

The flight bans came amid fears that the ash - a mixture of glass, sand and rock particles - can seriously damage aircraft engines. Airlines are estimated to be losing some EUR 150 M a day, the BBC reported.

Dutch, German and French carriers sent test planes up without suffering obvious damage, prompting some to question whether the risk has been overstated.

The two airline bodies, ACI Europe & AEA, said: "The eruption of the Icelandic volcano is not an unprecedented event and the procedures applied in other parts of the world for volcanic eruptions do not appear to require the kind of restrictions that are presently being imposed in Europe."

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