Airlines lost more than $1.7 billion in revenue during the six days after the initial eruption of the Icelandic volcano, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated on Wednesday.
During the three-day period from 17-19 April, when disruptions were greatest, the lost revenues reached $400 million per day.
“At the worst, the crisis impacted 29% of global aviation and affected 1.2 million passengers a day” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“For an industry that lost $9.4 billion last year and was forecast to lose a further $2.8 billion in 2010, this crisis is devastating.
“It is hitting hardest where the carriers are in the most difficult financial situation. Europe’s carriers were already expected to lose $2.2 billion this year—the largest in the industry,”
IATA is now urging airports and governments to help mitigate the financial impact on airlines.
“London Heathrow and Dubai are waiving parking fees and not charging for repositioning flights. Others airports must follow” said Bisignani.
He also requested that airports relax their rules on take-off and landing slot allocation and governments to relax bans on night flights to get passengers home as soon as possible.
The EU was also urged to ease its passenger care regulations, IATA saying it was “unfair” that airlines were held responsible to pay for hotels, meals and telephones for stranded passengers when the volcanic crisis was “completely beyond the control of airlines.”
Governments were also asked to help carriers recover the cost of the disruption.
“I am the first one to say that this industry does not want or need bailouts. But this crisis is not the result of running our business badly.“It is an extra-ordinary situation exaggerated with a poor decision-making process by national governments. The airlines could not do business normally.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L