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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 21, 2010 @ 9:19 am

    Grounded by the Volcano

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Not being a scientist, I cannot pronounce with any certitude on the lengthy cancellation of flights by the airlines and their rather sudden reversal of that decision.  

     The speed with which the travel ban was lifted in the end seems to suggest that it was not really necessary to halt flights for such a long period. But this is unknown and unexplored territory. 

    Yet again we find ourselves humbled by the awesome power of nature: remember the snow and the floods earlier in the year? We strut around like lords of the  universe but it doesn’t take much to put us off our stride.

    One would like to think that any hotel, airline or travel agent who may have used the occasion to bump up prices would be hunted down and prosecuted by the political and legal system. But that’s probably a naive hope.

    • kynos says:

      Experience is the reward we get for being deprived of our idealism. It’s nice to see a hardened reporter such as your good self – who must have seen quite a lot of this naughty world in your travels – yet coming out the odd time with stuff that would probably sound naive if Pollyanna said it yet is undoubtedly sincere and thus increases the value of this newspaper. Long may you write.

    • kynos says:

      I’m thinking this whole thing might actually remind a lot of people of the fact that they can do a lot more than they thought they could. I think it may prove yet to be a very good thing. Every ash cloud has a silver lining etc.

    • Liam says:

      I don’t agree that anyone should be charged. On the other hand I didn’t see the gov. use the state bus companies to get people back from Britain and the continent. It seemed to be the small bus operators that were stopping off at Heathrow for instance to bring Irish people back gratis.

      Reminds me of the joke that ends with three businessmen in prison for anti-trust offences discussing their circumstances: the first was charged predatory pricing for charging less then everyone else, the second was charged with price gouging for charging more then everyone else and the third was charged with cartelisation for charging the same price as everyone else. You can draw your own conclusions as to the moral of this tale

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      It just goes to show how pampered we are and how hopeless we are when any of our mod cons go wrong.

      It was probably just as well it took EU transport ministers so long to get their act together or they’d have made it even worse.

      How is it possible that Harney’s jaunt to New Zealand cost €34k when you can book a two-week trip to NZ for 4 from 1 May in business class staying in a 5 star hotel for under €8k?

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      If a BA flight landed at Heathrow at 10pm last night, how did it get clearance to take off from Canada where it departed from about 10 hours before. Where did they think it was going to land when at the time it would have taken off the UK was still in lockdown – were BA going to just fly to the UK and defy the CAA to stop them landing?

    • The closing of Europe’s skylines and the sluggish response reeked of ineffectiveness.

      The European Presidency should have a played a much more proactive role in the handling of the crisis.

      An immediate meeting of the Council should have been called in order to give a prudent risk assessment, inform aviation operators of an approximation of the ban, clearly outline the economic consequences and provide information on any assistance to both passengers/airlines that may or may not be provided.

      Relaying the outcomes of the meeting to the various member-states’ populations in one voice would have reinforced confidence and might have alleviated some passenger concerns.

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