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Ash Attack: Airline responses on 19-Apr-2010; losses mounting

19-Apr-2010 5:04 PM
  • Adria Airways: Cancelled 11 services in the morning of 20-Apr-2010, with plans to operate eight services in the afternoon of 20-Apr-2010; [more]
  • Aer Lingus: Will run a full transatlantic schedule between Ireland and the US on 20-Apr-2010 and will also operate services to Spain, Portugal and Italy until 1300 GMT (Irish Times, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier is also allowing customers to change their bookings free of charge from its website;
  • Air Algerie: Has suffered nearly USD23 million in losses since 16-Apr-2010, due to the cancellation of 85 services, affecting 6,500 passengers per day (for a total of 21,000 passengers) (KUNA, 19-Apr-2010). However, the carrier stated the situation is improving.
  • Air Arabia: CEO, Adel Ali, states it is difficult to quantify the financial cost of grounding the carrier’s aircraft (Dow Jones/Reuters, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier grounded services to Turkey, Ukraine and Morocco;
  • AirBaltic: Has cancelled flights originally scheduled to depart until 09:00 on 20-Apr-2010 and warned that flight cancellations may extend after this time; [more]
  • Air Berlin: Resumed limited flight operations on 19-Apr-2010, including three long-haul services. These flights have been made possible since DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) and LBA (German Federal Aviation Office) decided that controlled VFR passenger flights can be resumed in Germany. Using these visual flight rules, the first Air Berlin flight returning stranded passengers from Palma de Mallorca landed in Munich at 15:23 hours. More aircraft are already approaching their destination. Further flights are currently being planned; [more]
  • Air Canada: Reportedly losing CAD2.6 million each day following the grounding of 36 daily services and CAD400,000 per day in lost cargo revenue (Globe and Mail, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Air China: Cancelled five one-way flights and eight-return flights leaving from Beijing and Shanghai to European cities, including Rome, Madrid, Moscow and Frankfurt (Shanghai Daily, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Air India: Stated it would resume Mumbai-Chicago and Ahmedabad-Newark services on 19-Apr-2010, with the carrier also to operate Mumbai-Chicago service on 20-Apr-2010. Air India resumed its long haul services between India and the US on 18-Apr-2010 with Delhi-New York and Mumbai-New York services;
  • Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines: Cancelled UK and Europe operations on 19-Apr-2010 (Press Trust of India, 19-Apr-2010); [more]
  • Air Malta: Cancelled services to London Heathrow, Vilnius, Paphos, London Gatwick, Munich, Inverness and Teesside on 20-Apr-2010. The carrier, meanwhile, operated 16 relief flights on 19-Apr-2010, between Malta and Graz, Marseille, Rome and Toulouse. The carrier also maintained scheduled services to Istanbul, Palermo, Reggio, Rome Fimuicino, Catania and Tripoli; [more]
  • Airbus: Stated it has taken advantage of scheduled development test flights to assess the impact on the aircraft and its flight systems of the volcanic ash. An A380 powered with four EA engines and an A340-600 fitted with Rolls Royce engines, departed from Toulouse on 19-Apr-2010 on an experimental test flight to observe aircraft and engine behaviours in the ash cloud and to conduct thorough post-flight aircraft and engine inspections; [more]
  • Air France: CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, stated the situation in Europe is now "extremely urgent", with millions of passengers stranded, more than 60,000 flight cancellations in Europe and Air France-KLM experiencing losses of EUR35 million per day. He also warned that 500,000 direct employees, and three times as many staff employed indirectly, could "very soon be temporarily laid off". He added that in the absence of precise data on the density of any particles and without sufficient experience to assess the risks for aircraft engines, Air France is adopting a "pragmatic approach" based on test flights. The carrier, on 19-Apr-2010, planned to operate several medium and long-haul flights are operating with no passengers on board. Meanwhile, 13 long-haul services were headed to France, with five cargo services to land at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Air France has scheduled seven long-haul services on departure from the French provinces, including six from Toulouse and one from Pau, for 19-Apr-2010, with plans to increase this to 17 long-haul services on 20-Apr-2010. For customers who are interested in taking any of these flights, buses will be operated from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The carrier also announced plans to resume long-haul services from Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports on 21-Apr-2010 (ONE News, 20-Apr-2010);; [more]
  • Air New Zealand: Continues to terminate Auckland-Los Angeles-London services in Los Angeles and Auckland-Hong Kong-London services at Hong Kong. The carrier has continued to advise passengers with travel plans to affected parts of the UK and Europe to not commence travel, warning that should passengers still decide to travel and there are disruptions to their plans, costs incurred will be at their expense. Air New Zealand added that it has been informed there is little to no available accommodation in stop over points like Los Angeles or Hong Kong; [more]
  • Alitalia: Stated services to London, Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels remain suspended (Bloomberg, 19-Apr-2010);
  • British Airways: Stated "virtually all" services have been grounded since 11.00 on 15-Apr-2010, with the carrier estimating that lost passenger and freight revenues, together with costs incurred on support passengers, is approximately GBP15-20 million per day. CEO, Willie Waslh, labelled the situation as "unprecedented", adding that it is having a "huge impact on customers and airlines alike". He stated European airline have requested the EU and national governments for financial compensation for the closure of airspace, adding, "there is a precedent for this to happen as compensation was paid after the closure of US airspace following the terrorist events of 9/11 and clearly the impact of the current situation is more considerable". Plans to resume services from airports in London from 7pm local time on 20-Apr-2010 (USA Today, 19-Apr-2010); [more]
  • British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa): Called for the UK Government to step in and rescue the UK airline industry while estimating the flight restrictions will cost carrier’s approximately GBP130 million a day (BBC, 19-Apr-2010);
  • CAAC: Stated a total of 150 services between China and Europe have been cancelled since 14-Apr-2010 (AFP, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Cargolux: Reports its entire fleet is in operation, despite the closure of its Luxembourg hub (ifw-net, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier is using Southern European airports;
  • China Eastern Airlines: All European services have been cancelled (Shanghai Daily, 19-Apr-2010);
  • China Southern Airlines: Stated its flight cancellations to Europe have left 700 passengers stranded (AFP, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Cathay Pacific: Stated the situation, as of 20-Apr-2010, remains "extremely uncertain for air travel", as a new eruption of the Iceland volcano had caused further dispersal of ash over the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. The carrier added that it plans to operate service to Rome and Milan today, adding that "Rome and to some extent Milan are the only European services we have been able to maintain since last Thursday and we will continue to run these services while we can"; [more]
  • Cimber Sterling: Estimated the effect on profit per day is DKK5-8 million (EUR672,000 to EUR1.1 million), for a total effect between 15-Apr-2010 and 18-Apr-2010 of DKK20-25 million (EUR2.7-3.4 million); [more]
  • Croatia Airlines: Was planning to operate part of its domestic and international network yesterday (Hina, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Denmark: Danish Transport Federation stated the Danish aviation industry is losing at least USD27 million per day (Xinhua, 19-Apr-2010);
  • easyJet: Stated it is loosing approximately GBP5 million per day, but adding that it still expects to post strong half-yearly profits (Reuters, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier also commented that “more is needed from governments to face up to the scale of the natural disaster”;
  • El Al: Stated it plans to resume services to Austria and Hungary today (19-Apr-2010), after relaunching service to Kiev and Moscow on 18-Apr-2010 (IsraelNN, 19-Apr-2010). El Al is still not flying to Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland or Switzerland;
  • Emirates: Stated 20% of its fleet (30 aircraft) remained grounded on 19-Apr-2010, with the carrier stating the disruption has cost the carrier "somewhere in the region of USD50 million" (or EUR10 million per day), with over 250 Emirates services being cancelled and more than 80,000 passengers being impacted by the ongoing disruptions. The carrier stated it continues to provide hotel accommodation in Dubai for thousands of passengers who were in transit when the disruption began. The airline is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations apart from Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul until 21-Apr-2010. 250 Emirates services have been cancelled to date, with more than 80,000 passengers affected. At present the carrier is only operating European services to Athens, Istanbul, Larnaca, Malta and Moscow. The carrier, separately, stated it plans to deploy additional flights to the UK and other European destinations to clear its passenger backlog, once it is able to resume European operations (Gulf News, 20-Apr-2010); [more]
  • Etihad Airways: Stated flight cancellations remain in place to destinations in Europe and the UK. The carrier stated passenger currently in transit would be a priority as services are introduced. The carrier has subsequently resumed services to Moscow and Milan, with the carrier waiting approximately to reinstate to destinations across Germany, France and SWISS (Emirates News Agency, 19-Apr-2010); [more]
  • Finnair: Cancelled all services on 20-Apr-2010 and warns flights on 21-Apr-2010 may also be cancelled (Reuters, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier stated it is arranging alternative transport arrangements for its stranded European passengers, including ship and bus services from Helsinki to Berlin via Tallinn (Airline Industry Information, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Flybe/Logan Air: Stated it would operate 18 services to/from seven UK airports serving Newcastle, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 20-Apr-2010. Flybe’s franchise partner, Loganair, announced it will be operating 75% of all its flights as scheduled on 20-Apr-2010; [more]
  • Flight Centre: Stated the closure of UK and European airspace would not materially affect its business as most passengers would postpone their travel plans (The Age, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Georgian carriers: Including Airzena, continued to suspend services from Donetsk to London, Munich, Vienna and Riga on 19-Apr-2010 (Xinhua, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Goldstar Heathrow: The freight operator at London Heathrow Airport, reports 70% of fleet if grounded (RoadTransport.com, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Gulf Air: Announced plans to provide stranded passengers a free ticket to use in the future (Arabian Business, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier has cancelled 32 services since 15-Apr-2010;
  • Hainan Airlines: Cancelled most flights to Europe, according to CAAC (Global Times, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Iberia: Announced plans to use its largest available aircraft, an A340-600, to operate a special service between Madrid and Moscow, with the carrier to also operate special services from Madrid to Vienna and Rome; [more]
  • Icelandair Group: Stated the operations of its Icelandair, Icelandair Cargo and Bluebird subsidiaries has been severely impacted, with some disruptions experienced in the operations of Iceland Travel and Vita. Icelandair Group estimates that the Group‘s total daily loss amounts to ISK100 million (EUR586,000) due to flight disruptions and other complications. The carrier, meanwhile, stated that despite closures of European airspace, Icelandair has added new flights to its schedule when possible. Over the weekend Icelandair flew to Norway and Scotland and scheduled flights from Iceland to Finland and Sweden commenced on 19-Apr-2010. Furthermore, several cargo flights have been operated between Iceland and Europe since the eruption started. No disruption has been in Icelandair‘s scheduled flights to the USA and Icelandair will continue to operate flights from Europe to the USA over the course of the week; [more]
  • India: The Civil Aviation Ministry has establish a control room to coordinate disruption of west bound flights, given the large number of passengers stranded in India (there were, as at 19-Apr-2010, 41,435 passengers affected at Mumbai and Delhi Airports). Meanwhile, Air India and Jet Airways have started rerouted services to America through Egypt and Greece. The backlog of passengers is expected to be cleared in the next few days. The Ministry is also coordinating with the various agencies for latest information regarding possibility of flights to different countries of Europe, which is presently almost completely closed off; [more]
  • Japan Airlines: 47 scheduled JAL flights between Japan and the European cities of London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome and Moscow have been cancelled since 15-Apr-2010, affecting some 11,700 passengers. However, the carrier stated it would operate one service from Tokyo from Rome and Moscow on 19-Apr-2010. The carrier stated the flights were expected to be operated with full capacity; [more]
  • Jet2.com: Announced plans to lease up to 70 vehicles to transport passengers stranded in Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic back to the UK and operate charter flights from Lanzarote, Tenerife and Palma to the UK via mainland Europe (The Business Desk, 19-Apr-2010);
  • KLM: Stated it operated two commercial services, one to Bangkok and Taipei, and another to Sharjah, on the evening of 18-Apr-2010. The carrier stated "nothing out of the ordinary was found in either aircraft" during the flight and the technical inspection that followed. The first two flights carried no passengers but transported cargo and flight crews. Dutch authorities have permitted KLM to fly only on these routes. KLM CEO, Peter Hartman, stated he hopes that the airline will receive rapid clearance to restart at least part of its operations and transport its passengers to their destinations. Separately, Mr Hartman stated the first services would depart from Amsterdam on 19-Apr-2010, to New York, Shanghai and Dubai. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the closures, commenting, "our criticism was not on the closure of the airspace. Our criticism was that the airspace remained closed"; [more]
  • Korean Air: Stated there will continue to be "severe disruptions" to its scheduled on 20-Apr-2010, with the carrier cancelling eight passenger and eight cargo services to European destinations; [more]
  • LOT Polish Airlines: Cancels all scheduled services until 1200 GMT on 20-Apr-2010 despite partial opening of Polish airspace (Dow Jones, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Lufthansa: Germany's aviation authority (DFS) has granted Lufthansa and Air Berlin permission for a limited number of services to bring thousands of stranded passengers back to Germany. Lufthansa stated it plans to operate 50 long-haul services to Germany, with a total of approximately 15,000 passengers. The first service will be from the Far East, with others following from Africa and North America. The company added that aircraft would be operated to Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf (Bloomberg, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier, meanwhile, is appealing to the German Government for an easing of restrictions on the airspace ban (Bloomberg, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier conducted test flights of aircraft at low altitude between 3,000m and 8,000m from Frankfurt-Munich, with not the “slightest scratch” on any of the ten aircraft deployed (AP, 18-Apr-2010);
  • Lufthansa Freight: Reportedly hopes for long-distance freight services to return to normal by end of week (Reuters, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Luxair/LuxairTours: Stated not services will depart from Luxembourg prior to 10:00 on 20-Apr-2010, with the company added that the repatriation of stranded passengers is currently the main focus on the companies; [more]
  • Malev: Stated the ongoing volcanic ash disruption has cost Malev several million forints in revenue as the carrier was forced up to cancel 150 flights (Budapest Business Journal, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Moldovia Airlines: Stated it would operate Chisinau-Budapest service on 20-Apr-2010; [more]
  • Monarch Airlines: Stated its services will be cancelled on 19-Apr-2010, up until at least the morning of 20-Apr-2010. Approximately 38 services were cancelled on 19-Apr-2010, with approximately 22 affected services on 20-Apr-2010. Approximately 34 services were affected on 18-Apr-2010, with approximately 37 services cancelled on 19-Apr-2010 and three each on 15-Apr-2010, 16-Apr-2010 and 17-Apr-2010. The carrier, meanwhile, operateda rescue flight from Majorca to Manchester on 19-Apr-2010 (Crain’s Manchester Business, 19-Apr-2010);[more]
  • Plane Stupid: Stated 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been prevented as a result of cancelled flights (Sustainability Digest, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Qantas Airways: Stated the closure of European airspace is costing up to AUD1.5 million (USD1.4 million) per day (Bloomberg/The Age, 19-Apr-2010). Qantas stated up to 60% of the losses were due to customer services costs, such as paying for the accommodation of affected passengers. The carrier added that while Europe accounted for 17% of its global routes, the impact is still smaller than September 11 and SARS;
  • Qatar Airways: Stated it is losing USD5.5 million per day, with the carrier adding it plans to operate a test flight with crew and engineers with A330 equipment to London today, to “evaluate what effects ash has on our engines” (AFP, 20-Apr-2010). The carrier has been pay approximately USD250-300 per day to accommodate each passenger in Doha;
  • Royal Brunei Airlines: Stated it is working with the Brunei Association of Hotels (BAH) to ensure passengers are accomodated during their delay in Brunei; [more]
  • Royal Jordanian: Was forced to cancel seven services on 18-Apr-2010, including services to Geneva-Zurich, Paris, Milan, Vienna, Frankfurt, Kiev and London, with services to Barcelona rerouted to Madrid (Jordanian Times, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Ryanair: Extended cancellations of all services to/from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Northern France, Northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic States until Wednesday lunchtime (Travelmole, 19-Apr-2010). The move was made based on the current stable weather trends which continue to blow potentially dangerous volcanic ash across the British Isles, Scandinavia and Europe. Meanwhile, CEO, Michael O’Leary, called for a more targeted approach towards restrictions on services in Northern Europe following volcanic eruption (Dow Jones, 19-Apr-2010);
  • SAS: Stated the estimated earning impact of the cancellations amounts to SEK50-90 million (EUR5.2-9.3 million) per day, assuming that all flights are cancelled, describing the situation as a "major hit" to the entire aviation industry. The carrier has cancelled the majority of services from the afternoon of 15-Apr-2010 until 19-Apr-2010. The carrier stated the impact of the cancellations is "lowest on weekends and highest on busy travel days such as Mondays and Thursdays". As a result, the total earnings impact up to and including 19-Apr-2001 is estimated to approximately SEK220-280 million (EUR22.7-28.9 million). The estimate includes extra reimbursements to customers, such as hotel accommodation expenses and costs for alternative transportation; [more]
  • Singapore Airlines/Silkair: Services to European destinations have been cancelled on 19-Apr-2010. The carrier, on average, operates 25 daily services to Europe, with the carrier currently only operating twice daily to Europe, as of 19-Apr-2010 (Bloomberg, 19-Apr-2010); [more]
  • Singapore Airlines Cargo: Cancelled scheduled freighter services to, from, and via Europe. The carrier added that some freighter aircraft are being held back in the European airports; [more]
  • South African Airways: Cancelled all flights between South Africa and Frankfurt, Munich and London scheduled for 19-Apr-2010 (Business Day, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Swiss International Airlines: Expects to resume services to the USA in the evening of 20-Apr-2010 to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Miami and Montreal (USA Today, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Thai Airways: Total number of Thai passengers who are stranded is 21,625, of which 10,550 passengers are still in Bangkok. Of those abroad, there are 2,500 Thai nationals. The financial loss to THAI is approximately THB100 million (USD3.1 million)/day. Cancelled nine of 13 routes to Europe (Bangkok-London, Bangkok-Frankfurt, Bangkok-Copenhagen, Bangkok-Oslo, Bangkok-Stockholm, Bangkok-Zurich, Bangkok-Munich, Bangkok-Paris, Bangkok-Milan), but continues to operate to four destinations that have not been restricted, that is, Bangkok-Rome, Bangkok-Madrid, Bangkok-Athens, and Bangkok-Moscow. The carrier added that will continue to the cancellation of the nine routes from 19-22-Apr-2010. The number of Thai flights cancelled from 16-19 Apr-2010 totals to 70 flights, with 36 outbound flights and 34 inbound flights. The carrier, meanwhile, has liaised with authorities for additional special flights as soon as possible between Bangkok-Rome and Bangkok-Madrid and is coordinating with authorities to secure approval for flights between Bangkok-Toulouse, France, to replace the Bangkok-Paris route; [more]
  • Thomas Cook: Reported the financial impact from loss and additional costs is GBP7 million p/a (Moneyweek, 19-Apr-2010);
  • TNT: Switched to road transport following the closure of European airspace but still incurring high costs due to delays and the grounding of its aircraft (Reuters, 19-Apr-2010);
  • Transaero: Resumed Vienna and Frankfurt services on 19-Apr-2010, with the carrier adding that it plans to perform full service on Israel, Ukraine, Canada Dominican Republic services;
  • TUI Travel: Europe’s largest tour operator stated the disruption has cost GBP20 million so far, and will cost between GBP5-6 million per day (Dow Jones, 19-Apr-2010). TUI Travel, whose brands include Thomson, First Choice and Airtours, stated that even though the disruption has come during a period of low holiday activity, it would still have a financial impact. TUI Travel has had approximately 100,000 customers who have been stranded since 15-Apr-2010. The company added that, in the UK, 90% of customers whose flights have been cancelled have rebooked their holiday for a later date;
  • Unite Union: Unite stressed that "workers must not be expected to meet the costs of the disruption brought by the erupting Icelandic volcano" and express concern that the grounded industry will need large-scale assistance as it attempts to get back to full operations in the days to come. The union, which represents 70,000 workers employed in the UK sector, says workers may face increasing pressure to agree to widespread cost-saving changes, and express fears that some companies, particularly those in the ground services sector who have been hit hardest by the five days of disruption, will look to employees to cut costs, including asking them to take unpaid leave, and that without government assistance jobs will be lost; [more]
  • UPS: Stated it conducted three services to Madrid and one to Istanbul, for its first express air shipments into Continental since the volcanic ash disruption air travel last week (Bloomberg, 19-Apr-2010). The carrier has not been able to use its air hub in Cologne since 16-Apr-2010. Meanwhile, UPS truck drivers and sorters added extra shifts to keep packages moves through the company’s intra-European ground network. More than 100 flights have been cancelled since the volcano erupted.
  • Vietnam Airlines: Cancelled four services from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Europe (Moscow, Paris, Frankfurt) on 19-Apr-2010, with two services (Ho Chi Minh-Paris and Hanoi-Frankfurt) cancelled on 20-Apr-2010; [more]
  • Virgin Atlantic: Stated it would pay for hotel accommodation and meals for stranded passengers (Broking, 19-Apr-2010).