Emirates says 35,000 passengers delayed
Dubai, April 20, 2010
Dubai government-owned carrier Emirates, the biggest airline in the Middle East, has 35,000 passengers stranded and 2,000 tonnes of cargo disrupted from volcanic ash-related groundings, the company said on Tuesday.
Tim Clark, the airline's president, said he expected the number of delays and bottlenecks to balloon if the groundings stay in effect through the end of April.
"If this continues another week or two, we will have 200 to 250 thousand passengers on our network alone that are inconvenienced," he told reporters.
Once the air-industry crisis is over, he said, "We will recover our cash and profitability curve fairly quickly."
The carrier said on April 18 it was losing $10 million per day due to flight disruptions caused by ash from the eruption of an Icelandic volcano.
Clarke said Emirates was rerouting flights southward and eastward in Europe, away from Hamburg and Frankfurt and toward Zurich and Vienna.
Around 20 per cent of the Emirates fleet was sitting on the ground in Dubai, "doing very little," he said.
Flights from large parts of Europe were set to resume on Tuesday under a deal to free up airspace closed by a huge ash cloud, but strengthened eruptions from the Icelandic volcano threatened to unravel the plans.
The UAE is home to Emirates airline, the largest customer for the Airbus A380 superjumbo, as well as Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and Sharjah's Air Arabia.
UAE rival Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, also cancelled all flights to Europe as well as Russia until further notice.
Budget carrier Air Arabia said on Monday it has not felt any major impact from the volcanic ash cloud that grounded thousands of flights in Europe. – Reuters