Hundreds of thousands of passengers across Europe and Africa were grounded as dozens of airports were forced to cancel all flights due to a severe disruption from ash caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland which later spread across Northern Europe.
Scores of passengers in Sierra Leone who were scheduled to travel to Europe and the Americas were also affected by this problem.
A senior member of staff at the British Midland Airways (bmi) Josephine Macauley yesterday disclosed that bmi had cause “to cancel four flights” as a result of the volcanic Ash disruption.
She however intimated this press that one of their flights had already resumed operations last night and they are presently trying to cope with the pressure to reschedule tickets of passengers who stormed their office in their dozens.
There was an even more chaotic scene at Brussels Airlines office in Freetown yesterday, where visibly angry passengers were verbally confronting staff of the airlines to fast track their traveling. The very busy staff could not find time to answer questions from Awoko as they hurried to and fro trying to attend to their numerous passengers.
One of the passengers was so furious and frustrated that she threatened not to leave the Manager’s office unless her ticket is rescheduled to the nearest possible date. Another passenger who refused to disclose his name to this press said he was supposed to travel on Monday, 19th April but his ticket has been rescheduled for next Monday.
“I want to go tomorrow if possible because I have already run out of cash and I am also afraid of losing my job in America” he said.
It is very risky for any airline to fly in air space affected by volcanic ash. In 1989, a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 flew into an ash cloud from Alaska’s Redoubt volcano and lost all power, dropping from 25,000 feet to 12,000 feet (7,500 meters to 3,600) before the crew could get the engines restarted.
However after several test flight all long haul flight to Britains Heathrow airport have been cleared to operate as of yesterday. By William Freeman and Jon-bu