It’s no surprise that the issue dominating European news over the last week has been the fallout – in the literal sense – of the Icelandic volcano eruption that has paralyzed most of Europe as an air-flight originator and destination. What has been the surprise is the substantial and expensive impact such an unexpected natural phenomenon had on the very fabric of the economy and other aspects of European life.
Naturally, now that previously-shut airports throughout the continent are gradually starting to resume operations, the sentiment of “Never again!” is taking hold as eyes are cast about in the search of people to blame. In such situations, the temptation becomes overwhelming to avoid having to point fingers by simply blaming a machine, in this case the computer simulation that supposedly was the sole basis for shutting down flight operations once the volcano-ash started to spread. Various aircraft that the European airlines sent up to test actual conditions – including one reportedly dispatched by British Airways with CEO Willie Walsh, a trained pilot himself, aboard – encountered no problems or damage, so that has to constitute conclusive evidence that the flight-bans were panicked overreactions. (more…)