Monday, April 19, 2010

ASH UPDATE MONDAY 19TH: KLM Flights Land Safely; No Damage

Pressure Mounts as Airlines Question Ban
Shipping News Feature


EUROPE / USA – Though NATS has once again delayed the earliest possible time for resumption of UK flights to 1900 BST today, pressure is gradually being bought to bear by the air industry on the political establishment to rescind the restrictions, which they are increasing vocal on stating are overly strict and out of proportion to the actual risk.

KLM has reported that the two cargo flights it despatched yesterday evening to Sharjah in the UAE have arrived safely and that examination of the aircraft engines show no damage from ash ingestion. The flights to Bangkok dispatched at the same time are also reported to not have experienced any problems, though they have not been examined yet.

Meanwhile the head of the air industry association IATA, Giovanni Bisignani, has criticised European governments for the length of time it has taken them to begin addressing the seriousness of the situation, describing it as a “European embarrassment and a European mess” .

This morning the British government are to hold a meeting of the emergency council, COBRA, to try to find a way to get the estimated 150,000 stranded UK citizens home.

The meeting might also discuss the economic implications of how the ban is going to damage the economy.

As the ban extends commercial enterprise across Europe will begin to suffer severe economic problems which goes beyond people being unable to travel.

As one of the key markets of the global economy, Europe has whole heartedly grasped the concept of the globalised supply chain, with everything from fresh produce to manufacturing components now on the ‘just-in-time’ model which allows companies to minimise inventory stocks by receiving supplies shortly after production. This, naturally, is completely reliant on air transport.

The longer the ban continues the more businesses and consumers are going to find things decidedly difficult as these limited stocks run dry. Though sea freight still carries the bulk of European goods, the importance of air freight in the system is impossible to overstate.

With Europe such an important market, expect to see a knock on effect across the globe as more orders are cancelled.

(Note: Some people are now resorting to alternative methods to get home.)

(pic: Cloud projection for midnight tonight)