The European Low Fares Airlines Association (ELFAA) has renewed its request to European Union (EU) Transport Ministers to grant compensation to airlines after the ash crisis.
Following the recommendations of the European Commission vice president Siim Kallas that airlines be granted some sort of compensation, along with the relaxing of aviation rules to make the recovery smoother, the ELFAA is asking the EU to "act swiftly".
EU Transport Ministers are meeting today in Brussels to agree on the measures to be taken.
The ELFAA said compensation for airlines for "losses sustained as a direct result of the closure of airspace", should be acted upon by states "promptly" and in an "equitable manner".
"Compensation for airlines must be limited to the actual losses they incurred and not used as a cover for further support by states of ailing carriers," warned the ELFAA. "Included in the compensation must be the significant outlays incurred by airlines, honouring their obligations to assist passengers."
John Hanlon, secretary general of ELFAA, said current regulations on how much airlines should assist passengers whose flights are cancelled (under EC Regulation 261/2004) are "inappropriate" and must be amended.
Hanlon said the regulations were "conceived to penalise isolated bad practices by airlines, such as the cancellation for commercial reasons of individual flights and denied boarding due to overbooking".
"It patently cannot be applied to natural disasters, which, in this case, led to the cancellation of over 100,000 flights and disruption for millions of passengers - a situation of which the airlines were as innocent as the affected passengers," said Hanlon.
"Regulation 261/2004 is due for review and must be urgently amended to eliminate such aberrant application."
ELFAA comprises 10 airline members, including easyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Ryanair, Vueling and Wizz Air.
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) joined ELFAA in calling for member states to deliver compensation to airlines.
An ERA spokesperson said: "To avoid distortion of competition and to ensure a level playing field, it is essential that any compensation to airlines is distributed equally and fairly.
"It is equally important that compensation should only cover losses incurred as a result of the volcanic ash disruption and should not be used to support problems unrelated to the current crisis. The financial situation of the industry remains critical."