Published: Apr 19, 2010 4:09 PM EDT

LONDON, England - British Airways says airlines have asked the European Union for financial compensation for the closure of airspace.

The British airline says it is losing as much as as 20 million pounds ($30 million) per day since the volcano erupted last week, sending up an ash cloud that has grounded aircraft for five straight days.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh says the situation is extraordinary. He says European airlines have asked the EU and national governments for financial compensation for the closure of airspace.

Walsh says there is a precedent - because compensation was paid after the closure of U.S, airspace following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.