Following almost 6 days of Flight Feast in Europe, Airports have been reopening since yesterday across the continent, and close to 90% of the flights are back to normal by today. The live air traffic on FlightRadar24 shows lots of planes cruising in the European airspace, and even my friend’s Mother going for a week-long vacation in Iceland, has left this morning and arrived safely to the Nordic island.
Airports and airlines are in overdrive across Europe – as you can see on this photo above sent by my friend, Robert. Airlines needed to collect and relocate their planes that were stuck at airports abroad because of the volcanic ash caused airspace closure but are now mostly operating their fleets according to the regular schedule. This is great news for the passengers. Mostly for those, who were booked for today or later, and for those who were rebooked from last weekend to flights today or over the coming weekend. It will still take a few days to get all passengers to their original destinations, and have the not-yet-rotten air cargo be delivered as well.
Soon, all parties involved in this vis-maior, maybe overreacted airspace closure will announce the numbers about the last 6 days of flight interruptions, such as: 6.8 million passengers infected, ~70.000 flights cancelled, 750.000 passengers stuck on other continents, EUR 5-10 billion loss in tourism, a drop of jet-fuel prices, and the price increase of fresh vegetables and fruits. Not to mention the enormous amounts paid in recent days for train/bus ticket, car rentals, etc – which companies made a fortune and played by the free-market rules all around Europe. Rental car prices may be back to normal within a few days – but now that airplanes are mostly back to their hubs, these rental cars need to be relocated… Some rental companies are now renting cars for only the price of the fuel, if you as the renter take the car back to its original location.
(This is a snapshot of European Airspace on Thursday 1pm GMT. Take a look and compare it with the snapshot in our earlier article here)
It now seems that the volcanic ash powered clear skies are now history. At least for a while. The volcano in Iceland just entered another state of the erruption, with less ash and smoke. But other Volcanoes may follow…