European transport ministers have agreed to ease restrictions on ash-hit air traffic from 20 April.

The new measures will come into effect from 08:00, confirmed European transport commissioner Siim Kallas at a briefing today.

He says the measures are "good news for the airline industry". The decision follows ministerial discussions on the "unprecedented" closure of airspace in response to an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

Kallas says the gradual opening of airspace follows a recommendation agreed unanimously between authorities of the 38 Eurocontrol member states.

"Transport ministers have agreed to intensify European co-ordination and risk assessment of airspace management," he adds.

Kallas defends the time taken to agree the measures, arguing that there was no unreasonable delay in bringing ministers together to address the situation given its unexpected nature.

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Source: Air Transport Intelligence news