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Air Industry Shutdown Costly

April 20, 2010

Tensions remain high in Europe. Nearly a week has gone by since the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland prompted the shutdown of air travel across most of Europe. For the airline industry, this stoppage of flights has come at a time when the International Air Transport Association was already projecting $2.8 billion in losses for the 2010. The volcanic ash in the atmosphere over Europe could add an additional $1 billion to that total and as Eyjafjallajökull continues to erupt, this figure could increase.

Needless to say, airlines are eager to get passengers back into the air. British Airways has criticized Eurocontrol for the continued grounding of flights even as tests flights have shown no ill effects from the ash cloud. Nonetheless, pictures released of two Finnish NATO F-18s that came in contact with the cloud show the real damage a plane can incur when the particles from the volcano get into a hot jet engine:

Fortunately the jets were able to land safely, but one cannot help but be concerned with the prospect of an engine shut down on a 200 seat flight. Flying is always a calculated risk, but not flying is no doubt having a major impact on an already limping airline industry. Right now the regulators are winning the battle, but airlines and travelers  stuck in airports the world over may not be able to afford this grounding much longer. As the Icelandic volcano continues to spew ash into the atmosphere the balance of safety and money may begin to tilt towards the bank.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2010 3:45 pm

    75% of Europe airspace has been reopened

    The UK will open its airspace tomorrow morning

    The volcano is now sending ash about 15,000 feet into the atmosphere (International flights are at 35,000).

  2. eubeyer permalink
    May 5, 2010 8:56 am

    While not nearly as bad as the mayhem caused by the Icelandic volcano’s ash in mid April, Eyjafjallajokull is still active. Today, numerous Scottish, Irish, and Northern Irish airports were forced to suspend flights today:

    The New York Times has slide show of spectacular pictures of Eyjafjallajokull available at:

    If you want to learn how to pronounce Eyjafjallajokull, IU professor Dr. Robert D. Fulk has recorded a pronunciation:

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