Airlines Hit Hard as Flights Resume

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Planes are gradually reentering the skies over Europe today. The Associated Press reports that Germany's air traffic controllers have said they are reopening the country's airspace. London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest, has also reopened, delivering rays of hope to stranded travelers.

Now that flights are back in the air, the airline industry is looking at how to deal with over 100,000 flights that were canceled in the past week due to ash from an Iceland volcano. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) told The AP that airlines have lost at least $1.7 billion due to travel disruptions.

"For an industry that lost $9.4 billion last year and was forecast to lose a further $2.8 billion in 2010, this crisis is devastating," Giovanni Bisignani, the head of the IATA, said. "Governments should help carriers recover the cost of this disruption."

At least 15,000 of Europe's 28,000 flights are expected to go into the air today, but with severe delays.

UPDATE SINCE THIS STORY WAS FIRST POSTED: This story was updated to include an increased number of canceled flights.

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