Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Emirates could handle two week shut down

Source: ArabianBusiness 20 April 2010
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said on Tuesday that the airline's $66m losses incurred during the Icelandic ash cloud disruption would not be covered by insurance but added that the airline was in good shape to cope with a two-week shutdown.
"We will just have to live with that," Clark said, adding that the carrier would not increase fares in an effort to recoup losses caused by the volcano eruption. "We don't need funds, we are in good shape. If it goes on for two weeks we can handle it."
He told reporters in Dubai that the European aviation industry would "implode" if the airspace shutdown continued for three months.
His comments came as Emirates said it expected to operate flights to Paris, Nice, Vienna, Zurich, Istanbul, Moscow, Larnaca, Rome, Athens and Malta on Wednesday. Flights to the UK are cancelled through to 10am UAE time on Wednesday, the airline added.
The Dubai carrier continues to incur losses of about $10m a day, he said. About 20 percent of its fleet is currently grounded and some 2,000 tonnes of cargo has so far been affected including a large amount of fish.
He added that Dubai Government would not consider helping out Emirates with its ash cloud losses.
All flights to the UK scheduled to leave Dubai on Tuesday have been cancelled but some flights resumed to airports in France, Italy and Switzerland while German flights were being rerouted to Vienna.
About 35,000 Emirates passengers had been affected by cancelled flights since Thursday and UK flights were still grounded. Clark said that if the flights crisis continued for two weeks, a total of 250,000 Emirates passengers would be affected.
About 600 members of Emirates' crew were currently stranded across Europe, Clark said, adding that the Dubai Government was committed to making sure all passengers were taken care of as quickly as possible. He added that 49 Dubai hotels had been used to take in transit passengers, which on Tuesday numbered 3,861.
Clark said that the airline hoped to restore full operations in three to five days but it would take longer if the ash cloud restrictions continue.
Earlier on Tuesday Etihad Airways said it had cancelled 21 flights on Tuesday to and from London, Paris, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Brussels, Manchester and Munich.
Qatar Airways said its Tuesday morning services to London Heathrow, Munich, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, London Gatwick and Copenhagen had been grounded.
The Doha-based carrier said it plans to operate a “test flight” to London’s Heathrow airport on Tuesday to assess the risk posed by the volcanic ash cloud. In an interview with Al Jazeera English channel, the airline’s CEO, Akbar al-Baker, said only the flying and engineering crew would be on board.
Bahrain's Gulf Air said it was resuming its flights to London on Tuesday afternoon and to Paris and Frankfurt, scheduled to leave the Gulf state early Wednesday.
The National Air Traffic Services in the UK said on Tuesday that based on the latest Met Office information, part of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports would continue to be available from 1-7pm (4-10pm UAE time), and also south to Newcastle Airport.
Restrictions will remain in place over the rest of UK airspace below 20,000ft, it added.

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