News / Europe

Recent Flight European Cancellations Creating Significant Economic Implications

Multimedia

Audio
Jennifer Glasse

The closure of airspace over Britain, Northern Europe and Scandinavia is having economic repercussions around the world.  It has halted the transport of goods, stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers and dealt a severe economic blow to the airline industry.

Nearly 100,000 flights were canceled or delayed as volcanic ash forced the closure of European airspace.  The International Air Transport Association says the crisis has cost airlines more than $1.7 billion and is devastating an already beleaguered industry.

British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh says his company lost between $20 million and $30 million a day.

"My personal belief is that we could have safely continued operation for a period of time," said Walsh.  "I think there were occasions when the decision to close airspace could have been justified."

Walsh says canceling everything was unnecessary and that after the unprecedented delays and cancelations there will still be complications with air travel.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Volcanic Ash Stops Europe Flights—Why Ash Is Dangerous (National Geographic)
An eruption in South Iceland (Icelandic meteorological institute
Volcanic Gases and Their Effects (U.S. Geological Survey)

"I think to get back to normal levels of operation, from an industry point of view, I think will take weeks," he noted.

About 20 percent of airline revenues comes from air freight.  

Aramex logistics company managing director Jim Armour says the shutdown cost his company about a quarter of its daily revenue.  The real problem is the uncertainty he says.

"If someone said this was going to last for two weeks like a strike, you could make your plans, you could think about what you do with your people.  I think the concern is the unknown really," said Armour.

Armour says the implications are not just economic.

"[There are] terrible impacts.  [For example,] you want to move blood plasma around and you need it badly, you want to move kidneys around… There [are] some disastrous consequences apart from the economic ones," he explained.

Flower growers in Kenya and Israel have had to destroy tons of roses and other flowers that are too wilted to have any economic value. Fruit and vegetable producers have also lost crops that could not travel to Europe. Jo Tanner, with Britain's Freight Transport association says there are lots of untold costs.

"The impact economically is really difficult to judge at this stage, because we do not know how much has been able to be salvaged, how much extra cost there has been in terms of the contingency planning, so moving stuff to particular hubs by air and then picking up the rest of the journey by road, rail or sea," said Tanner.

Airlines are asking European governments for financial and logistical compensation to help alleviate some of their losses.  Many businesses will not have the same option and it may take some time before the full economic impact of the volcanic ash cloud is known.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid