News / Economy

Asia's Travel Also Singed by Iceland's Volcano

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Kurt Achin

Flight cancellations from the Iceland volcano eruption are creating costs and inconveniences all the way to Asia.

The International Air Transport Association says global carriers are losing an estimated $200 million a day in revenue as a result of airplane groundings related to the Iceland volcano.   Albert Tjoeng, a Singapore-based spokesman for the association, says that is just part of the problem.

"There are people stranded in Europe who cannot fly back home to Asia," said Tjoeng.  "There are travelers who are stranded in Asia who cannot fly back home.  At the same time, goods and services cannot be delivered."

Travelers waiting around here are missing out on income because they cannot return to work, like this French physical therapist hoping to get back to Paris.

TRAVELLER: "My office is closed.  I have to tell my patients I cannot be in France.  It is quite stress[ful] about making money, because it is my work."

On the other end of the stalled air route are passengers like Nemo Kim, a news anchor for an international broadcaster in Seoul, who cannot get back from London.  She has been getting text messages for days from her carrier, Korean Air, that flights are canceled.  She is hoping to board a plane next Sunday.

"If there are no flights, even until then, I will probably have to send my luggage by mail, and then try and get a train ticket going to Madrid… and then maybe try and get back to Korea via New York or via Bangkok or Hong Kong.  Either way, it is going to be an expensive trip," said Kim.

The flight cancellations are expected to have additional repercussions for smaller Southeast Asia countries, where travel and tourism is a major share of the economy.

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