It Wasn’t Me Sir, It Was Him

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Yesterday the recriminations began to grow more loudly in the wake of the closure of airspace over much of Northern Europe for yet another day. It seems that the blame culture has taken over from the culture of it being just one of those things. Fate my mother used to call things which were outside her control. It was the fault of this body or that.
So the Met Office is being blamed for its forecasting of the wind movements. NATS (responsible for airspace over Britain) is being blamed for their computer modelling. Eurocontrol (responsible for co-ordinating the use of airspace over Europe) is accused of being too cautious, governments because they haven’t reacted quicker, the Spanish Government (as EU president at the moment) because they didn’t call a meeting of EU transport ministers more quickly and the fairies at the bottom of the garden because, well who knows. Now we have the navy being sent to bring people home (well it is election time after all) and Spain may act as a clearing house for passengers trying to return to France, Germany and the UK. Flights will go there and then passengers will be returned home by other means.
Initially, last Thursday, the media seemed to view this story as a one day wonder. Now they devote pages to it trying to find a new angle. Maybe that is why the blame game has come to the fore
Airlines have lost significant sums of money as have airports, tour operators not to mention holidaymakers. One person known to CD-Traveller spent £11,000 getting from Norway to the north west of England and there have been media stories about the efforts of Jeremy Clarkson, John Cleese and so on to get back home. British Airways is asking for government assistance but ,if granted , it can only come from one source, us taxpayers. So if the airlines plead a special case can passengers? Some insurance companies have relented their earlier approach that it was an act of God and are now saying maybe the claim can be covered by the delay clauses.
This morning flights have been again on a small scale as planes and crews are scattered around. Ironically one of the first flights will be from Glasgow to Iceland. Nobody is blaming Iceland yet for having a volcano in the first place but it is sure to arise.
Given that there hasn’t been an event like this in Europe in my lifetime, planning for the eventuality is viewed by some as an overreaction. Computer modelling is a bit difficult because the models are trained on past events. At least they will now some valuable data to improve their forecasts.

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