Airline bosses lobbied for change in policy

Airport news for Heathrow on 21/04/2010.

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The Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, has said that there may have been mistakes made regarding the closing down of the UK’s airports due to the volcano eruption in Iceland.

He said that the authorities had needed the time to properly ascertain whether the ash posed any real risk to passengers and aircraft. The UK appeared to be the last country to lift the total ban on flying after the six day shut down. The airline industry had been unhappy with the blanket ban on flying and had questioned the need for what they considered to be a knee jerk reaction to the risks posed.

The Civil Aviation Authority has now agreed that the evidence put forward by some airlines and aircraft manufacturers that flying under the current conditions were safe, was reason enough to lift the flight ban.

Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, personally took part in a flight at the weekend to prove that it was safe to fly; he had been pushing the authorities to lift the ban saying “I don’t believe it was necessary to impose a blanket ban on all UK airspace last Thursday”. Heathrow has been given the green light to lift flying restrictions and allow more flights through.

It is thought that airlines around the world have lost £1.1 billion since the crisis began with BA losing £20 million a day.

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