When airline travel was paralyzed in Europe due to an unforeseen volcanic eruption in Iceland, it was without a doubt that the consequences would be devastating to airlines in Europe and all over the world. The combined cost of the continued disruption of air travel has recently exploded past the 1 billion dollar mark, and airlines are now asking for government assistance to help recuperate from the crippling losses recently sustained.
Since April 14th, travel in Europe has been limited like never before, stranding travelers from across the globe in whichever location they chose to spend their vacations. Airlines across the globe have felt the blow from this unprecedented eruption, but European airlines have undoubtedly shown the greatest loss of profits.
Likening it to the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mr. Willie Walsh, head of British Airways, called for government aid following the tremendous lack of profits that resulted from the eruption, going so far to say that the “current situation is more considerable [than the attacks].”
Whether or not the government agrees with this statement, it’s without a doubt that this is not the first time an eruption from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano has created problems in the area. However, with modern complications taken into account, this 2010 eruption has resulted in the greatest air traffic disruption since World War II. With airlines only recently recovering from a decade-long period of financial losses as a result of the notorious September eleventh terrorist attacks, this eruption could not have come at a less opportune time.
It is said that European airlines have lost an estimated 200 million dollars daily since the eruption of the volcano, which resulted in the cancellation of up to 80,000 trans-Atlantic flights. The fear of engine failure as a result of a plume of ash generated by the eruption has frozen air travel in 23 European countries, and a concrete solution to the problem is far from being in effect.
Air travel set aside, European countries are suffering from the economic setbacks brought on by the immobilization of many different industries. As a continent recently recovering from a devastating recession, this lack of travel opportunity has come at one of the worst possible times, further crippling several areas of business.
As frequent travelers, there is little we can do but cross our fingers and hope the situation is resolved quickly and efficiently. Whether or not the government will provide aid to their airline industries is not yet confirmed, but it is without a doubt that the consequences from this event have had, and will continue to have catastrophic results, with only time being able to tell how everything will come to a close.
Image: Tribune de Geneve