Implications of ash cloud on airlines
May 6th, 2010 by elisa

The Met Office prediction that the Ash cloud would move West today was correct, so UK airspace was successfully re-opened. It may currently be open but airlines will be watching nervously as the volcanic ash cloud descends again, warns former Virgin Atlantic corporate communications director Paul Charles.

“With airlines having lost over a billion pounds last time round, the re-emergence of the ash cloud is the last thing they need,” said Charles.

“They won’t be able to cope with the uncertainty of on-off airspace closures and if this continues, it will put some carriers out of business.”

Charles, now chief operating officer at PR company LEWIS Communications, adds: “Hopefully, airlines and airports should now have robust contingency plans in place to help customers and communicate news of any flight delays, suspensions or cancellations if and when they happen.

“Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are excellent ways of delivering information quickly to travellers. Airlines should also be ready 24 hours a day to update their websites with the latest developments.

“The restrictions on flying through low-density ash have been loosened since the last disruption but passengers should check with airports and airlines before setting off on their journeys.

“The situation is changeable and dynamic but there needs to be clear leadership from the authorities to ward off any possible repeat of the chaos which occurred last month.”

 The danger of airlines going out of business and the unpredictable nature of the ash cloud constantly threatening to shut down the UK and Europe’s airspace which will prove extremely costly to the aviation industry will most certainly affect numbers of travellers and eventually ticket prices as airlines will not be able to absorb the costs incurred.

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