The cloud of volcanic ash, currently drifting over parts of Europe after the recent eruption of Iceland’s volcano, has lead to the suspension of air traffic in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and most parts of Northern Europe.
The UK National Air Traffic Services has closed UK airports closed until 7am Monday 19th April as a result of the worsening this volcanic activity.
More than 20 countries have closed their airspace with only 4,000 flights estimated to have flown in Europe over the week end, compared with 24,000 normally.
Airlines Lufthansa, Air France- KLM Group and industry groups are pressing European governments to re-examine an unprecedented closing of the region’s airspace following successful testing flights, without passengers, during the weekend. Nevertheless, some Carriers, including British Airways cancelled all their Monday flights.
Some transport companies are currently coordinating with its European Country offices to route import cargo via alternate airports to move any urgent freight out of the Europe. This may require road transfers down into southern European airports, by-passing the “no fly” zones incurring additional cost. Carriers are also expected to apply premium rates accordingly.
However Carriers operating from those European airports that are still open are being inundated with requests for capacity to all parts of the world.
This disruption and cancellation of flights has affected weekend consolidations to and from most European Countries and as a result freight backlogs have developed. Once fight services resume it is expected further delays may be experienced until such time the Airport backlogs clear.
Australian exports to Europe are similarly affected with week-end consolidations either held at Australian airports or at Airline transfer HUBs, pending flight departure approval.
Source: DHL Global