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Last Updated:[16-04-2010 10:38:35 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Aviation Industry May Take Months to Recover from Volcanic Losses

tradenews The volcano under Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier which erupted on last Wednesday for the second time in a month is likely to inflict huge losses to global trade, particularly to the aviation industry as passenger and cargo movement has come to a standstill to and fro Northern Europe. Apart from thousands of stranded passengers, a major chunk of air cargo transportation from Europe to Asia and vice versa is reported to have affected. Likewise, Europe-US travel and cargo story is also understood to be not different from that of Europe-Asia either.

As per the latest updates on volcano, many of Europe's busiest airline routes will remain closed until Saturday. Furthermore, if one goes by the volcanologists warnings, the eruptions could continue on-and-off for months, potentially meaning continued delays and closures. It is estimated just three days of air traffic closure alone will take months for the aviation industry to recover from the mammoth losses.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation or CAPA figures show that some six million passengers could be affected world-wide if the closures continued for up to three days. The volcanic clouds spewed above 30,000 feet have forced air travel virtually impossible as the jet engines could be shut down if they sucked in volcanic debris.

High-flying volcanic ash consists of extremely fine silica particulates that could easily enter jet engines, which operate at temperatures of about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Silica melts at about 2,000 degrees, and at that point it fuses to turbine blades, nozzles and other critical engine parts, causing the engine to clog, overheat and eventually shut down.

It is now evident that the losses to the aviation industry and auxiliary ones would run into billions of dollars. London’s Heathrow Airport, which is the worst affected due to the second Iceland’s volcanic eruption, itself clearly supports to that logic since one of the world’s busiest airport manages more than 1,200 flights and 180,000 travelers per day. And any delay to the resumption of air travel and cargo movement is bound to create grievous financial problems to the industry which is showing some signs of revival along with global trade after the meltdown.

By Jose Roy

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