Sunday, April 18, 2010

KLM Dispatches Three Freight Flights To Test Safety

Carrier Looks to Check Flying Conditions Over Europe
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – Dutch carrier KLM has dispatched three cargo flights, two to Sharjah and one to Bangkok. The intention is to test on an actual route the risk to aircraft operating in European airspace.

The move comes after Lufthansa, KLM and British Airways have all carried out test flights throughout the day to examine whether their aircraft engines show signs of damage from flying in the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Both KLM and Lufthansa have so far stated that these flights showed no cause for concern.

Pressure has been mounting through the day from the airline industry for the EU authorities to reassess the danger of flying in volcanic ash, which they say are overly strict in comparison to other areas of the world where these conditions would not be an issue and which aircraft routinely operate in. Should the freight flights prove to have no problems it will be an extra argument for the airlines to resume operations.

However, there is still no guarantee that passenger flights will be allowed to operate in the near future, and governments are now examining how to bring citizens home from around the world, with the British investigating the possibility of using the Royal Navy to ferry people from Spain or France.