The ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano eruption that spread over Europe cost airlines more than $1.7 billion in lost revenue, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Wednesday.
The calculation by the industry group was made through Tuesday, with the initial eruption occurring six days earlier. The volcano forced closure of much of Europe’s skies.
IATA said governments should relax bans on night flights to allow for more planes to take off and also said European rules on passengers’ rights should be changed, calling the volcano an “act of god”.
“Europe’s passenger rights regulations provide no relief for extraordinary situations and still hold airlines responsible to pay for hotels, meals and telephones,” IATA charged, while saying governments should also aid the industry to cushion the losses.
The industry group has been critical of Brussels and European governments for not having a quicker and more coordinated reaction to the volcano crisis.
“It is an embarrassing situation for Europe, which after decades of discussion, still does not have an effective Single European Sky,” said Giovanni Bisignani, the IATA chief.