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EU Counts Losses From Airspace Freeze

Jose Manuel Barroso

Jose Manuel Barroso

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso today issued a statement ordering a probe into the loss to EU economies of billions of dollars as European air travel remains paralyzed by a cloud of volcanic ash drifting down from Iceland.

In the biggest airspace freeze since the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, airlines are reportedly losing $200 million a day as tens of thousands of passengers seek alternate ways to travel.

The European aviation control agency reports that only 4,000 flights are expected today -- mostly in southern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey -- compared with the normal 24,000 flights.

The agency said a total of 63,000 flights have been cancelled in European airspace since April 15. Also today, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered visa and other assistance for stranded travelers.

compiled from agency reports