All of Europe is under the influence of Eyjafjallajökull. Or rather its ashes, which constitute a danger for air traffic.
All European countries came up with clear regulations: either air traffic is allowed at a certain point in time, or it is not allowed.
Germany didn’t manage that. In Germany, air traffic is still banned. Except if the pilots fly “on sight” and have special permissions. What does that mean? It means that the pilot has the whole responsibility for the flight. Not the airline, not the air traffic control, not the government. The pilot. Who is forced by his company to fly, and who will be condemned by everybody if anything happens.
Obviously it really isn’t possible to say whether the ashes in the air are dangerous and whether they are really a risk for air traffic or not. And it’s obviously very hard to determine their concentration. That is fine. It’s a new situation, how should anybody know how to deal with it?
But: We have to deal with it in one way or the other. And we in this case is not the pilot. We is not the airline. We is the officials in charge. But obviously, they don’t have the guts to deal with it.
They decided to close the airspace. They were criticized for it. So they have two choices:
Have the guts to keep the airspace closed, no matter how much the airlines, the industry yell at them. THEY are responsible for the safety, THEY decide, everybody else doesn’t have a say, and that’s the bottom line.
Or have the guts to open up the airspace, at least at certain times – and take the risk for it.
But no, they don’t have the guts. They keep the airspace closed, but allow the airlines to ask for exceptions and they grant the exceptions but don’t take the risk. That’s coward behavior at its worst, and it leads to a total chaos because nobody knows what is going on. ALL other countries manage to come up with clear rules, except for Germany. So show some guts here, one way or the other!