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Dutch Airline KLM Wants Flights Resumed

April 18, 2010 — Carrier said it flew safely without passengers through a cloud of volcanic ash on Sunday

Nothing would make airports and travellers more happy right now, than if flights resumed. And that might just happen soon enough, because some airlines have been conducting test flights.

Dutch airline KLM said it recently flew without passengers through volcanic ash safely.

The plane flew at a normal altitude of 10,000 feet, but didn't encounter the thick smoke that's been hovering over northern Europe the past few days. Nor was any damage present on the plane from volcanic particles.

If this is the case, the test flight would indicate that the ash has dispersed.

KLM is pressing to end the ban on commercial aircraft, so planes can get back to the business of flying. Other airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France have also been conducting test flights.

Vice President of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association said he wouldn't have any qualms about flying today. 'With the weather we are encountering now (clear blue skies), there's obviously no dense ash cloud to be seen, and in my opinion, there's not reason to worry about resuming flights.'

However, meteorologists are not in full agreement. They say the air above Europe is unstable and constantly changing because of the varying winds. This unpredictability is being assisted by the volcano's erratic eruptions.

The cloud is not in fact, present at all times. It's constantly changing and moving -- it doesn't stand still.

European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol, says ultimately up to national aviation authorities to determine whether the airspace should open.

Scientists say that the plumes of grit coming off of the volcano are deadly to planes, and that the weakness of the eruption is actually keeping bits of ash closer to earth -- which ultimately poses a dangerous threat to commercial aircraft.

The aviation industry is suffering at least $200 million in losses everyday according to the International Air Transport Association.

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