Unifying Europe's airspace will top the list of proposals ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU transport ministers on 4 May.
The meeting, to be held in Brussels, will address the economic impact of the crisis on the airline industry and other economic sectors such as tourism, the Spanish EU Presidency said.
"We need a fast coordinated European response to such crises," said Kallas. "Instead we have a fragmented patchwork of 27 national airspaces. Without a central regulator, Europe was operating with one hand behind its back."
Kallas' predecessors have been trying to unite Europe's airspace for the last decade under the 'Single Sky' package, which would streamline the 27 national airspaces to just nine by June 2012.
"I don't think we can afford to wait that long," said Kallas. "I want to start work to fast-track the Single Sky project."
Previous efforts have been hampered by member states' reluctance to cede control.
Airlines have reluctantly swallowed the lost revenues and their own heavy fixed costs over the last week, but low-cost airlines are less compliant about EU laws forcing them to pick up hotel and restaurant bills for stranded passengers.
Ryanair's combative chief executive Michael O'Leary initially challenged the EU passenger rights law "EU 261".
But he later backed down once it became clear that EU lawyers had gone into painstaking detail to force airlines to provide everything a passenger might need, right down to "two telephone calls, telex or fax messages".
"The airlines are required by regulation to meet potentially unlimited expenses," O'Leary complained, as Ryanair announced on Thursday it would be reimbursing expenses after all.
"We will continue to work [...] to persuade the European Commission and the European Parliament to alter this regulation to put this reasonable limit on these reimbursement claims," he added.
At the time the law was set in 2004, airlines warned it could have painful consequences if airspace was shut down as it has been in the last week, but politicians ignored them, says the European Low Fares Airlines Association (ELFAA).
"Its application now is transforming a crisis into an economic catastrophe," ELFAA said in a statement.
But Kallas rejected the challenge by low-cost airlines. "EU law must be respected," he told reporters. "There are no discount passenger rights for discount airlines."
Regulation EU 261 does relieve airlines of their obligations in "extraordinary circumstances". "Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of [...] meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned," it says.
But close examination of the legal small print reveals that exemptions only apply to cash compensation, not to cost of caring for passengers. That is inescapable.
The proper channel for airlines to recover their costs would be by applying for state aid, just as they did after the flight disruption in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But Kallas warned that the European Commission would not blindly wave through overblown state aid claims.
"I am an economist, and I see the immense creative force that has been put behind calculations of losses," he said. "This is normal. If I were on the side of those suffering, I would go to maximum efforts to show my trouble is as big as possible."
Last week, the EU's competition chief Joaquin Almunia, said the European Commission may allow European Union governments to provide aid to airlines hit by a severe loss of revenue due to the volcanic ash cloud.
Some are talking about a bailout package to rescue the airline industry similar to the one agreed for the banking sector in 2008.
"The scale of the economic impact [on aviation] is now greater than 9/11, when US airspace was closed for three days," International Air Transport Association (IATA) head Giovanni Bisignani said. "This crisis is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business," he added.
Globally, the airline industry says the crisis had cost it about $1.7 billion in lost revenue, though it also saved some $660 million in costs such as fuel.
(EurActiv with Reuters.)