Volcanic ash cloud delays thousands of flights in Europe

On Thursday the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull spewed an ash cloud that immediately grounded about 1,000 flights.

The ash cloud continued to spread across Europe and has now cancelled as many as 20,000 flights in and out of Europe.

According to CNN, "It's the worst disruption of air traffic since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Following those attacks, the United States closed its air space for three days, forcing Europe to postpone all transatlantic flights."

Britain's National Air Traffic services continued the ban of flights as far as Monday and are looking at all other possibilities.

It's very apparent that everyone is frustrated. Not just passengers but also the airlines.

Some airlines have been able to proceed with take-offs while others claim to be misinformed.

On a conference call with Eurocontrol on airline representative scolded Eurocontrol by saying they were "being inconsistent in applying flight restrictions and stressed that the flight bans were creating 'a serious economic issue for us.'"

The economic damage for the airlines and Europe are only beginning to be assessed.

The New York Times reported, "The disaster is estimated to be costing airlines $200 million a day, but the economic damage will roll through to farms, retail establishments and nearly any other business that depends on air cargo shipments. Fresh produce will spoil, and supermarkets in Europe, used to year-round supplies, will begin to run out."

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