While some airlines are returning to the skies today, the ash crisis has made a significant impact on business across Europe, and the world.
The risk of another ash plume shutting down European flights remains, but for now companies are counting the costs of the Eyjafjallajökull’s first wave, and fearing the worst from a second eruption.
The Formula One circus is in serious jeopardy as 1,000 drivers, team members, and officials were left grounded in Shanghai and unable to return to Europe. It's three weeks until the Spanish Grand Prix but airlines are already warning teams that they could be stranded in Shanghai until the first week of May. Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights-holder, admitted that the planes used to carry hundreds of tonnes of freight -- including team equipment and the 24 race cars, worth £1 million each -- were trapped in Europe.
Salmon producers in Iceland can't get their fish shipments out, which is good news for U.S. and Canadian fisheries. According to the Baltimore Sun, some local businesses are reporting that the cost of salmons has gone up between 25 and 30 per cent.
Video communication is also benefiting since people can't get to their meetings in person. According to the Dallas Business Journal, Regus, a virtual office provider, has seen an increase in requests for its 2,500 video communications suites across the globe. Regus says bookings are up 38 per cent in the United Kingdom, 12 per cent in Europe, and nine per cent in the U.S.
According to analysts, as reported by Reuters, the demand for jet fuel has decreased by 2 million barrels a day. However, if airlines start flying on schedule this week, oil prices are not likely to be impacted.
According to the Daily News, city officials are expecting a loss of $250 million from tourist-related revenue as Iceland's ash clouds prevents close to 12,000 Europeans from visiting the Big Apple this weekend.
Europe gets approximately 1/3 of its fresh flowers from Kenya and according to the Christian Science Monitor, the Kenyan economy is losing approximately $3 million a day as a result of flight cancellations to Europe. According to former Kenya Flower Council (KFC) Chairman Erastus Mureithi, stakeholders in the flowers industry are now calling on the government to give them economic stimulus to enable them cope with the loss as flowers are left to wilt, undelivered.
Shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS are reporting serious disruptions to their services and telling customers they have no way of getting packages to Europe right now, according to the Dow Jones. UPS is trying to find ways to fly to Eastern Europe (Istanbul) in addition to trucking shipments.
In total, airlines are looking at losses of $200 million a day, according to the International Air Transport Association, putting the total at about $1 billion since the sudden halt to flights last week. The association says the hit to the airlines will possibly be the worst since 9/11.
Singapore Airlines looks like it will suffer the biggest loss among Asian carriers.The airport crisis is expected to cost the carrier $S3.7 million a day in its passenger and cargo business, and lost sales of about $S7.6 million a day. Singapore Airlines gets about 25 per cent of its revenue from European flights.
The impact on Europe's tourism industry will increase with with each day of flight delays and cancellations. Though there are serious loses, they are ironically being offset by stranded tourists having to invest in hotels, hostels, and restaurants as they wait for flights home.
The Czech Republic is losing around $8 million per day because of the closed airspace, according to calculations by the analytical firm Mag Consulting.
'If (Czech Republic) airspace is shut down for more than five days the shortfall in full year incoming tourism revenue would be irreplaceable,' said head of the firm Jaromir Beranek.
Turkey is suffering, with analysts attributing the fall in part to worries that European tourism to Turkey would fall sharply even if the immediate disruption clears. The Turkish lira saw a 10-day low, while stocks hit a 2 1/2 week low.
The cost of insuring Greek sovereign debt against default skyrocketed to a record level, according to Reuters, after the travel disruption caused delayed IMF-EU talks in Athens aimed to help resolve the country's debt crisis.
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