Australian airline says travelers to expect one week delays

13:58, April 18, 2010      

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Australian airlines on Saturday said Europe-bound flights from Australia could be delayed up to a week because of the vast cloud of volcanic ash blanketing most of the continent.

Australia's biggest airline Qantas spokesman David Epstein said passengers should prepare for significant disruption with the volcanic eruption in Iceland grounding flights across Europe.

"At this stage it's highly unlikely things are going to return to normal for several days at least, and it may well be a week," Epstein said.

"It's a question of making a judgment not just when the airspace is open but when the airports are actually capable of taking our flights in and out in a way that doesn't disrupt passengers too much."

About 2000 Qantas customers in Asian ports were being given the option of onward flights to other destinations or flights back to Australia.

The national carrier estimated 8,000 Qantas customers have been impacted by the eruption, while about 100 international passengers stranded in Australia are being accommodated in Sydney hotels.

The Air Transport Association in Geneva estimated the current cost of the eruption to major airlines at around 213 million dollars (200 million U.S. dollars) each day.

Source: Xinhua


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