ASH CLOUD: Volcanic dust costing BA £20m daily

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British Airways is losing up to £20 million ($30.5 million) a day as a result of the closure of European airspace caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

The carrier says that lost passenger and freight revenues, combined with the costs of providing meals and accommodation to stranded passengers, are costing it between £15 million and £20 million a day.

BA has joined other European airlines in calling for financial assistance from the European Union and national governments to compensate them for their losses, citing compensation awarded to US carriers following the closure of airspace in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks as a precedent.

"We welcome the EU's initiative to address the economic consequences of the airspace closure on the air travel industry and the wider European economy," says BA chief executive Willie Walsh. "We are also in touch with the UK Government, which has set up a group to work on this issue as it recognises the impact on airlines and the contribution that aviation makes to the British economy."

BA says it has "significant funding available to it to sustain a considerable period of closure of the UK's airspace".