Airlines Out $1.7B as Germany Reopens Airspace

Crisis even worse than 9/11 for industry
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2010 7:12 AM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2010 7:54 AM CDT
Airlines Out $1.7B as Germany Reopens Airspace
British emabassy staff members give information about flights to passengers at the T4 Barajas airport, in Madrid Tuesday, April 20, 2010.   (Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Air controllers lifted all restrictions on German airspace today, as airlines announced they had lost at least $1.7 billion and criticized government actions during the volcanic ash crisis. The head of the International Air Transport Association called the economic fallout from the six-day travel shutdown "devastating" and urged European governments to compensate airlines, as the US did after 9/11. Many airlines have criticized authorities for closing airspace longer than necessary, CNN reports.

London's Heathrow is officially open, but so far planes are only landing, not taking off. Some restrictions remained Wednesday morning over parts of Britain, Ireland and France, as well as over parts of central Europe. And severe delays are still expected across Europe, as airlines pressed to patch together normal flights with airplanes and crews scattered all over the globe. (Read more Iceland volcano stories.)

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