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As the meeting got underway however, news broke that all Irish and some Scottish airports were being forced to close and new eruptions took place in Iceland.

The proposed measures being discussed aim, in the first place, to help passengers and the air transport industry through the short term.

Secondly, the package proposes structural changes to ensure people do not face this situation again.

European Commission vice president Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: “The question is not if but when this kind of crisis will happen again.

“Volcano eruptions and other crisis events do not respect any rules, so we need to be more flexible and agile in our response.

“We need co-ordinated European action to help millions of passengers and an industry which has been hard hit by this unprecedented crisis.”

Luke Walsh

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