Independent Media Expert Julian Bray comments: UK and European Insurance companies are threatening to withdraw travel cover from individual passengers as their corporate underwriters are questioning the validity of aviation insurance arrangements and the validity of what some operators call an over cautious computer projection issued by the Met Office, the people who promised a 'barbeque summer' last year only to find the whole summer was a washout.
The insurance companies are claiming that when the contracts were originally negotiated there was no peril asssociated with repeated volcanic ash storms and subsequent disruption to flight schedules. The European Community edict that airlines must pick up travellers hotel expenses for delayed or cancelled flights is also a major factor as the cost is passed back to the insurance underwriters.
Many smaller airlines are thought to be near to breaking banking mandates and others will certainly cease to trade 'within months'.
Use of smaller 'skyvan' type aircraft may be one solution for domestic flights as they fly at a lower altitude and may be able to fly underneath the ash clouds whch seem to settle at around 35,000 ft the normal cruising height of conventional passenger jet aircraft.
The problem is the volcanic silica based ash when sucked in by a jet engine literally turns into shards of glass, coats the jet fan blades, causing them to stop without warning. The air disruption is also having a knock-on effect with cruise passengers missing ship pick-ups and air freighted fruit and vegetables being delayed and rotting in warehouses. Just-in-time manufacturing such as the car industry has also been badly hit.
Contributor: Independent Media Expert Julian Bray http://tinyurl.com/pknlxn Broadcast quality dialup ISDN 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X DualCodec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581