Clear as ash

Issue section: 

"The planes are back in the air. And it's not a minute too soon," grumbled the Daily Star's editorial on 22 April, after ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano grounded flights.

"This whole mess has cost airlines alone £1.1 billion... It's clear ministers were far too cautious with their blanket flight ban. Air experts say it was 'another example of health and safety gone mad'."

What could possibly have gone wrong if flights hadn't been cancelled? I'm no "air expert", but there might always have been "TERROR AS PLANE HITS ASH CLOUD". For this was the Daily Star's front page "exclusive" the day before, over a photo of a Boeing 747 with flaming engines, and the subhead, "Dramatic pictures as jets get OK to defy volcano."

The "dramatic pictures", actually from a documentary about an incident 28 years earlier, led to the newspaper being banned by Gatwick and Manchester airports on the day flights resumed - lest it dissuade passengers from flying.