Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Volcanic ash continues to wreak travel chaos

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-18

As a massive cloud of volcanic ash spewing from Iceland headed east and southeast Saturday, aviation authorities warned of further disruptions as a global flight backlog built up and airlines faced huge losses.

Have your travel plans been disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud? Are you stuck at the airport? Tell FRANCE 24 about your ordeal by posting your story below in the comment section.

Grounded flights and closed airports left millions of passengers stranded for a third day Saturday, as a huge Icelandic volcano ash plume drifted across European airpsace.

The European aviation control agency Eurocontrol warned that there would be major disruption to air traffic for another 24 hours on Saturday. At least 16,000 of the daily 28,000 thousand flights were cancelled on Saturday in the worst travel chaos since the September 11 attacks in 2001.


The volcano on the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland erupted on Wednesday, sending ash drifting towards Europe at an altitude of about eight to 10 kilometres (five to six miles).

“Volcanic ash poses a very real threat to airplane engines,” UK-based journalist and former geologist Ted Neil told FRANCE 24.

“It’s just not a chance worth taking,” he said.

France has extended the closure of airports in Paris and others across the north of the country until Monday 6am GMT.

The UK has imposed a ban on the majority of flights in its airspace until at least 1800 GMT on Sunday.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Germany and Poland also extended complete flight bans until Sunday morning, but Lithuania and Norway have partially reopened their airspace.

Stranded

Disgruntled passengers across Europe and around the world have been forced to spend the night at the airport or scrambled to find other options.

In an online comment, Boré told FRANCE 24 that he has spent the past two nights at the Singapore airport but that airport authorities were providing food, sleeping bags, pillows and that he was given a tourist visa for a few hours.

Travellers, holidaymakers, diplomats and celebrities alike, turned to packed trains, buses, boats and taxis on Friday.

In Paris and London, thousands of passengers rushed to get tickets for the Eurostar cross-Channel rail service. But Eurostar said that even the three extra Paris-London trains could not keep up with demand.

French national Jean-Paul Gaston, stranded in Seoul, South Korea, told FRANCE 24 that he was just trying to get back to Europe, as France may prove too difficult. 

Economic impact


The closure of Europe’s three biggest airports - London Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt – has led to a massive flight backlog across the world.

The widespread flight delays and cancellations come at a critical time economically for airlines.

Most of the big players were struggling to turn a profit even before the economic crisis struck last year. The International Air Transport Association reported a matter of days ago that the industry was just now emerging from recession.


Some airlines like Cathay Pacific said they would no longer be accepting new bookings to main European destinations for the next few days.

While most airlines have not disclosed the economic impact of the biggest airspace shutdown since World War II, Finland’s national carrier Finnair said in a statement that it would stop paying salaries to staff "after two weeks if the situation continues and normal working is prevented.”

Scandinavian airline SAS warned Friday it would temporarily lay off up to 2,500 employees in Norway starting Monday if flights remained grounded.

Europe’s low-cost airline Ryanair cancelled all its flights in northern Europe and the Baltics until 1200 GMT Monday.
 

Date created : 2010-04-17

  • AIR TRAVEL

    The FRANCE 24 survival guide

    Read more

  • AVIATION

    Analysis: why ash is a threat to planes

    Read more

  • AVIATION

    Lessons from a flight through ash clouds

    Read more

COMMENT(S)