Shutting Down International Air Travel – Sir Richard Branson – Beyond A joke
Sir Richard Branson: New Restrictions ‘a joke’
Sunday May 16,2010
Sir Richard Branson has demanded intervention to halt flight restrictions as he branded a fresh closure of Manchester Airport due to volcanic ash “beyond a joke”.
Manchester is one of a number of UK airports which will close from 1pm on Sunday after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) extended its no-fly zone due to a cloud of ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano being blown above Britain.
The Department of Transport has warned there may be restrictions across different parts of the UK until Tuesday when a change in wind direction is expected to blow the ash cloud away from Britain but Sir Richard said there was no evidence planes could not fly safely.
“The closing of Manchester airspace once again is beyond a joke,” he said.
“All the test flights by airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers have shown no evidence that airlines could not continue to fly completely safety.
“It is obviously dangerous to fly through the mouth of a volcano as has been demonstrated time and time again on television by what happened to the BA plane. However the volcano is hundreds of miles away from the UK.
“Over a thousand flights took off from France last week in similar conditions to that which exist in Manchester today without encountering any problems or showing any levels of ash concentration.
“We need strong leadership to intervene to avoid doing further unnecessary damage to the UK economy and lives of travelers.”