Many aviation experts gathered for a volcano conference in Iceland said April's week-long closure of European airspace was likely three times as long as necessary due to political pressures. "Political safety exulted over aviation and consumer safety," said one European industry executive. A UN tourism expert estimated that the week-long shutdown cost some $5 billion, and he urged airlines and regulators to work together more closely to avoid such scenarios in the future. The Air Transport Association has said that airlines are in the best position to decide when it's safe to fly following a volcanic eruption, but regulators are resistant to giving up that control.
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