News24

Lockdown 'hit entire economy'

2010-04-29 16:03

Berlin - The threat to air traffic posed by the Icelandic volcano eruption was "entirely overrated", Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber said on Thursday.

Speaking at the airline group's annual general meeting in Berlin, Mayrhuber said "the lockdown of airspace did not only hit the airlines, but the entire economy. Today we know that the danger situation was entirely overrated and the consequences of this were severely underestimated".

"We require a pan-European concept to deal with such situations. The 'Single European Sky' is more necessary than ever," he added.

Extensive flight bans caused the cancellation of over half of scheduled European flights between April 15 and April 22, costing airlines some $1.7bn and stranding millions of passengers.

EU officials have called for a single European regulator to govern airspace above the continent, arguing that varying models of decision-making by air traffic controllers in various countries during the shutdown exacerbated disruption.

The German government has called for an international standard to be set, which would fix a value for the concentration of ash in the air above which a flight ban would be imposed.