With the eruption of Iceland’s volcano on 14th April 2010 it has been a nightmare week for travellers. The eruption caused enough volcanic ash to spew into the jet stream that airline flights were cancelled all over Europe. Initially it was thought that the volcano might only disrupt air travel for a day or two but this turned out to be wildly optimistic, as travellers have been stranded at airports or in cities for days.
Icelands Volcano - Eyjafjallajökull
The star on the map shows the location of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier which covers an active volcano that erupted on 20 March and 14 April of 2010.
Due to Iceland’s volcano it’s been a pretty grim week for travellers trying to get into, out of, or through Europe. Millions are stranded, resources are stretched to the maximum and the travel industry is under huge pressure to cope with the situation.
“Key transport providers have laid on extra services: both East Coast and Virgin Trains are running extra rail services between London and Scotland while Eurostar, Eurotunnel, cross-channel ferry operators and international coach operators are all also carrying many more passengers than usual.”
Impact on Business
Demand has increased for accommodation by stranded passengers unable to fly home. This has caused a mixed response by accommodation providers. For instance, some hotel companies have decided to cash in on the situation and in some cases double the cost of a room. Others are maintaining their standard rates.
Go Native’s Head of Property Management, Samantha McKnight, says “we have seen an increase in the volume of enquiries particularly from Business Travellers trapped in the Capital unable to get flights home. Hotels have either increased their prices or become full so business travellers have turned to alternative options”.
The impact on business so far has been huge–costing airlines millions or hundreds of millions of dollars per day and potentially causing an even bigger impact on businesses unable to move people or resources as needed. Of course, travel disruptions like this have an immediate impact on any business traveller affected. Travellers affected should make sure to know their passenger rights if they’re stuck in Europe.
Alternative Transportation Providers
Business that move people and freight by sea and land rather than by air are doing very well out of situation with a massive surge in bookings – cross channel ferries such as SeaFrance and P&O, high-speed train operator Eurostar, plus car-shuttle operator Eurotunnel.
P&O took a record 6,000 foot passengers across the Channel on Friday compared to the 100 to 200 it would expect at this time of year. Eurostar services are heavily booked, with 50,000 more passengers than normal since the airspace closures on Thursday. The company says travellers must book in advance rather than just turning up.
Europe’s largest coach operator, Eurolines has limited availability to and from the 500 European destinations across its vast network, and has put 100 extra coaches into service to and from the UK. It plans to add thousands more extra seats over the next two days. So far extra services have only been added to its key routes, between London and Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam. Deutsche Bahn has also reported a surge in bookings as travellers scramble for air alternatives.
The National Airspace Traffic Service (NATS) has advised that based on the latest Met Office information, part of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports will continue to be available from 1300-1900 today, and also south to Newcastle Airport. Restrictions will remain in place over the rest of UK airspace below 20,000ft.
Overnight the CAA, in line with new guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) decided flights above the ash cloud will be permitted in the UK between 1300 and 1900 to enable aircraft movements above 20,000ft in UK airspace. See the NATS website for updates.
They have warned that the “volcanic eruption in Iceland remains dynamic,” and so travellers planning on flying in to or out of a UK airport should check the latest advice from their carrier before departing for an airport.
Travellers in Europe are advised that additional ferry places have been made available, and that they should make their way to Calais or another northern European port. Eurostar, Eurotunnel, cross-channel ferry operators and international coach operators are carrying many more passengers than usual.
The Government is also looking at the possibility of creating a hub for repatriation to the UK via Spain. We will announce more information on this as soon as possible.
Can Go Native Help?
If you need to find suitable accommodation for you or your employees during this difficult period, Go Native has a wide range of options available across the UK, EMEA and India and we would be very happy to help.
Get in touch on 0845 601 2028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you have been affected by the eruption and would like to share your story please feel free to do so.