Flight ban rules are relaxed

After another 10-hour restriction on flights yesterday due to unfounded fears of more ash from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, the rules for flight bans have been changed.
Ash cloud new rules
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Reports from the MET Office had deemed conditions in the sky unsafe for planes to take off and so airports across the UK were shut down, leaving tens of thousands of travellers stranded and angry.

It was later discovered that the levels of ash in the sky were not significant enough to have caused as much chaos as it did.

But this second flight ban angered the travel industry more than it did the passengers. Willie Walsh, the British Airways chief executive, spoke out about the huge financial losses that airlines had suffered as a result of the "gross over-reaction to a very minor risk".

He said: "BA has already lost about £100 million because of the volcanic ash cloud."

And Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic described the incident as "beyond a joke".

The Civil Aviation Authority has announced that a new Time Limited Zone, which allows planes to fly through double the concentration of ash in the sky, will come into effect. This will enable airlines to run to more normal schedules. Although, airlines will need to get permission from their aircraft and engine suppliers to do so. But had the new rules been in place yesterday there would not have been nearly as many cancellations.

Nats, the air traffic control company stated: "As a result of this change, there are no predicted restrictions on UK airspace in the immediate future."

That news, coupled with the BA strikes being called off should spell happy travels for many passengers. But have these changes simply been rushed through to prevent airlines losing more money? Is safety being compromised for profit?

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.