European Union says half of airspace may be free of ash Monday, half of normal flight may runBy Slobodan Lekic, AP
Sunday, April 18, 2010
EU says half of normal flights may run Monday
BRUSSELS — The European Union says that air traffic could return to 50 percent of its normal level Monday if forecasts confirm that skies over half the continent are clearing of volcanic ash that has thrown global travel into chaos.
Several airlines safely flew test flights without passengers over Europe on Sunday despite warnings about the dangers of the ash. That fueed a corporate push to end an economically devastating ban on commercial air traffic.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said that by midday Sunday it had flown four planes through what it described as a gap in the layer of microscopic dust over Holland and Germany. The ash began spewing from an Icelandic volcano Wednesday and has drifted across most of Europe, shutting down airports as far south and east as Bulgaria.
Lekic reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Greg Katz in London, Angela Charlton in Paris, Toby Sterling and Mike Corder in Amsterdam and Malin Rising in Stockholm contributed to this report.