Air traffic chaos costs Emirates Airline more than 50 mln USD

08:17, April 19, 2010      

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The disruption caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption has cost Emirates Airline in excess of 50 million U.S. dollars, the Dubai-based carrier said in a statement Sunday.

The airline said it is losing revenue from 18,000 passengers a day as airspace across Britain and much of Europe remains closed, according to the statement carried on the website of Arabian Business, a local business journal.

Some 30 Emirates aircraft are grounded, equivalent to one fifth of the fleet, the statement said, adding that to date, more than 80,000 passengers have been impacted by the ongoing disruption.

It said the airline is providing accommodation and three meals per day for approximately 6,000 passengers who were in transit when the disruption began on Wednesday.

"The scale of this crisis is unlike anything I have experienced in my career," Tim Clark, the carrier's president, was quoted as saying.

"The longer it continues, the more complex the recovery process becomes. Like every carrier operating to Europe, Emirates is facing huge losses -- 10 million dollars a day in our case," he said.

"These are losses which are coming straight out of our own pocket. But despite this not being a crisis of our own making, we are doing everything possible to minimize the impact on our customers," Clark added.

Currently, Emirates is not accepting passengers for travel to any European destinations excluding Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul until Tuesday. The airline said it will take around 24 hours to get flight schedules back to normal once the approval to fly is received.

The volcanic ash cloud that was spreading across Europe and caused the biggest travel chaos in years came from the fallout of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southeast Iceland.

The volcano began erupting on Wednesday for the second time in a month from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, hurling a plume of ash 6 to 11 km into the atmosphere.

Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverized rock that can damage engines and airframes.



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