ASH CLOUD: European airlines ponder compensation call

London
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The Association of European Airlines is meeting today to draft a list of support measures it may call for, to assist the industry in resuming flight operations and cope with the fall-out from the airspace closure caused by the Icelandic ash cloud.

Most of these currently-undisclosed measures are non-financial, says the AEA, but there is a case for asking compensation for the money airlines have paid in feeding and accommodating stranded passengers.

"One of the obvious thoughts that comes into our collective consciousness is to recover what we are spending in passenger assistance," says an AEA spokesman.

"Our members are spending quite a lot of money on hotels and generally looking after stranded passengers."

The estimates of the cost of assistance vary from carrier to carrier but one of Europe's major players is understood to be paying approximately $700,000 a day.

"There are nagging suspicions that there has been an overreaction on the part of governments [with the airspace closures] so this seems to be a reasonable thing to ask for," says the spokesman.

He stresses that presently no firm calls for support have been made but that further announcements may be made later today.