Sir Richard Branson urges Government to lift no fly-zones

by Ella FAIRCHILD on May 17, 2010

Sir Richard Branson is speaking out against the most recent no fly-zones imposed as a blanket of volcanic ash continues to disrupt European airspace.

The Virgin airline exec is urging the Government to intervene and halt all restrictions. Calling the blanket ban on certain parts of Britain ‘a joke’, Sir Richard said that all research and test flights have indicated that jets can safely continue their routes despite the lingering ash residue.

Air traffic controllers set up no fly-zones in Manchester, Carlisle, Doncaster, Humerside, East Midlands, and Liverpool over the weekend. In Northern Airline all airports have been shutdown, and Scotland has seen several flight bans as well.

Sir Richard has continued to implore the Government to act upon the flight bans, saying that aircraft are not at risk anymore. According to the airline mogul, a 1,000 flights took off in similar conditions in France without no complications. He added that strong leadership would be required to ensure no further damage to the British economy.

The Civil Aviation Authority has said the threat will continue at least until tomorrow. Simultaneously 12,000 BA cabin crew are set to begin a 20 day strike. According to a spokeswoman from Qantas, the airline had remained unaffected by the flight ban, but that all airlines were continuing to closely monitor the situation. The closures come less than a month after a seven-day long flight ban across most of Europe. The ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland has continued to cause problems for UK and European air travel.

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