DUBAI, (Reuters) – Dubai government-owned carrier Emirates said on Sunday it was losing $10 million per day, reaching a total of $50 million so far, due to flight disruptions caused by ash from an Icelandic volcano.
Large parts of Europe enforced no-fly rulings for a fourth day on Sunday because of a huge ash cloud from the volcano that has caused the worst air travel chaos since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York’s twin towers.
“Emirates is losing revenue from 18,000 passengers a day as airspace across the UK and much of Europe remains closed,” the company said in a statement. “Around 30 Emirates aircraft are grounded — equivalent to one fifth of the fleet.”
More than 80,000 passengers have been affected by the disruption, the airline added.
“Like every carrier operating to Europe, Emirates is facing huge losses — $10 million a day in our case,” President Tim Clark said in the statement.
Clark said he predicted it will take around 24 hours to get flight schedules back to normal once approval to fly again is received.
The airline has stopped flights to all European destinations, barring Moscow, Athens, Larnaca, Malta and Istanbul until April 20.
The United Arab Emirates 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.
Through Sunday, a clampdown held across much of Europe, posing a growing problem for businesses — especially airlines, estimated to be losing $200 million a day — and for thousands of travellers stranded worldwide.
The European aviation agency Eurocontrol said only 4,000 flights were expected in European airspace on Sunday, compared with 24,000 normally. It said a total of 63,000 flights had been cancelled in European airspace since Thursday.