Flights ban brings big bill for the North East
MILLIONS of pounds are being lost to the regional economy because of the continuing ban on air travel, airport bosses said last night.
With flights cancelled until at least 7pm this evening, fears are growing that the fall-out from ash blown into British airspace from the still erupting Mount Eyjafjallajokull volcano could push the region back towards recession.
Newcastle International Airport, where planes have been grounded since Thursday, is facing losses of over £100,000 per day in a situation described as “unprecedented” by its bosses.
A total of 45,000 people have been affected, with 450 flights from Newcastle cancelled while billowing ash makes it dangerous for planes to fly.
But the knock-on to the wider economy started to emerge when the airport revealed 60 tonnes of mail and 25 tonnes of freight had also been affected.
Last night, National Air Traffic Control Services extended the ban on flights in the United Kingdom until 7am today.
Graeme Mason, head of planning and corporate affairs at Newcastle Airport, said: “Every day we are waiting for the next decision from Nats. Our staff are coming into work early so we are ready to reopen, but at the moment the situation remains the same, and no flights are departing or arriving.
“The airspace around Newcastle has been closed for a total of 96 hours. This is unprecedented in our history.”
The British Airline Pilots’ Association last night called for a banking-style rescue from Downing Street.