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Travel News

Impact on industries on day six of volcanic ash chaos

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Written by editor

European airports made tentative steps toward resuming flights on Tuesday after a cloud of volcanic ash shut down traffic last week, but much airspace stayed closed in a sixth day of disruption.

European airports made tentative steps toward resuming flights on Tuesday after a cloud of volcanic ash shut down traffic last week, but much airspace stayed closed in a sixth day of disruption.

Here are impacts on industries ranging from telecoms to toll roads on day six.

AUTOS

Luxury carmaker BMW said it would stop production in its German plant in Dingolfing on Tuesday night, with Regensburg to following on Wednesday and Munich on Thursday due to lack of electronic components.

TRANSPORT

Distances driven by Norwegians have increased by 500 percent since the Icelandic volcano erupted, the Norwegian branch of car rental company Avis said.

“Our colleagues report customers renting cars to go from Bergen to Lisbon,” a journey of more than 3,500 km (2,175 miles), said Avis Norway sales and marketing director Tonje Fossum.

Spanish tollway firm Abertis said it is benefiting as stranded travellers take to the roads. It said rising road travel on its French tollways was compensating for the impact of airport closures across Europe, including at Abertis’s Luton airport in the UK.

Britain and France agreed to allow ferries crossing the English Channel from the southern English port of Dover to carry 10 percent more passengers to help repatriate stranded travellers. Britain’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency said larger ferries will be allowed to take more people during daylight hours in good weather for a short period.

TELECOMS

A number of companies joined Cisco Systems in reporting a move to video conferencing as an alternative to travel. Deutsche Telekom said it was offering free trials of its phone and web conferencing systems and Polycom, a U.S. company offering conferencing services, said it had seen a jump in demand.

NORTH SEA OIL

Norwegian officials said helicopter flights to oil and gas platforms to the North Sea were suspended but Statoil said later in the day it had resumed some flights.

RETAIL

British-based supermarket group Tesco, the world’s No. 4 retailer, said it was arranging to pick up UK-bound Kenyan flowers from Spain, but it and other European retail giants Metro and Rewe of Germany stressed that only a tiny proportion of products travelled by air.

INDUSTRY GATHERINGS

Reed Elsevier’s flagship London Book Fair, which last year hosted 12,225 visitors and 1,567 exhibitors, was eerily quiet, with some events cancelled and many speakers replaced. One exhibitor was overheard saying one-third of her meetings had been cancelled, and fair organisers offered signs reading: “Sorry, we’re currently unable to man our stand,” to companies who couldn’t make it.

Ukraine’s main agriculture consultancy UkrAgroConsult said it had postponed its annual Black Sea grain conference, scheduled to start on Wednesday and normally attended by representatives of 50 countries.

AIRLINES/AIRPORTS

KPMG warned that the shutdown would start causing serious difficulties for smaller airlines within days.

Dart Group, owner of British low-cost airline Jet2.com, said the carrier had sufficient financial resources to withstand a considerable period of disruption despite having so far lost 2.8 million pounds in profit.

The airline, which has 32 planes flying to several of the affected countries, expects the daily profit impact to be 0.35 million pounds for every further day of disruption.

British airports operator BAA, majority owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, estimates the daily impact from airport closures on adjusted EBITDA and cash flow at about 5 million pounds ($7.65 million).