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Ash crisis is costing us €10m every day

THE volcano crisis will cost Irish tourism at least €10m for every day our airports are shut during the summer months.

As many as 35,000 visitors could not make their way to Ireland in the past two days alone, in what has been described as "a big blow" to the Exchequer.

Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin launched a major new marketing drive today but admitted the sector was under severe pressure because of threat posed by ash clouds.

"In the month of May, for everyday we are closed we are down 17,500 visitors. That's €10m per day," she said.

Passengers at Dublin Airport were counting their blessings as flights got under way this morning.

Flights resumed at 4am, but nervous air travellers admitted they were taking nothing for granted as the made their way to their terminals.

Thousands of people had their travel plans thrown into chaos yesterday when Irish airspace was invaded by another ash cloud, shutting down proceedings from 11am.

The Irish Aviation Authority today said the ash cloud was moving southwestwards and airport restrictions were being lifted according to its progress.

It stressed that decisions to cancel flights were being made for safety reasons, and continued to advise passengers they should contact their airline's website to get the most up-to-date position on flights.


Aer Lingus said it planned to operate its full transatlantic schedule from Ireland to the US tomorrow, and the majority of its short-haul flights would run, but with likely disruption.

Ryanair plans to operate normal services with the exception of four cancelled flights into and out of Shannon and Kerry airports.

Three friends who were thankful to get to fly today were Alison Burke, Karen Murphy and Sue McManus from Bettystown in Co Meath.

"We were very nervous yesterday and were checking the weather and websites to see if we were going to be affected," Alison told the Herald. "We are going to Malaga with Ryanair for four days for a girlie trip."