Flights above Britain (and other European countries) have been disrupted again this week, although not as dramatically as last month when airspace was shut down for about a week. The airlines have been screaming blue murder about how the restrictions placed by the Civil Aviation Authority were too cautious and were costing them millions of pounds each day they were in place.
I’m a cautious type of person, and I usually subscribe to the “better safe than sorry” point of view, although I recognize that as well as the financial penalties incurred by the airlines, lots of travellers have been inconvenienced.
I have a solution. The CAA could loosen their restrictions. There could be levels of volcano ash which the CAA does not feel to be completely safe, but where the risk is perceived to be low enough that the airlines wish to start earning money again. In these conditions the airlines could be allowed to fly, with the following conditions:
- airlines bosses agree to plead guilty to manslaughter if a plane goes down.
- airline staff are not forced to work on these flights, and will not be discriminated against or punished if they choose not to work on these flights. (They may have a risk averse attitude like me). Airlines would be free to offer incentives (financial or otherwise) to tempt employees to work on these flights.
- In the interests of full transparency passengers are made aware when their flights are operating under these “possible risk of crashing to certain death” conditions, and are also given the option of waiting for a fully safe flight. Reasonable accomodation and subsistance expenses will be met by the airlines if the passengers choose to wait for a safer flight.
That should keep everyone happy.