African and Middle Eastern airlines have seen a significant financial impact of the volcanic ash cloud over Europe last month, although much less than their European peers.
According to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 30% of African airlines’ capacity was affected by the five-day closure of much of Europe’s airspace. Middle Eastern carriers were forced to ground around 20% of their fleet — the part that is dedicated to European routes. By comparison, European carriers were forced to shut down 75% of their operations on average, but many airlines such as British Airways, Air France-KLM or Lufthansa did not fly at all for several days.
Asian, Latin American and North American carriers could not provide slightly less than 20% of their typical daily capacity.
IATA confirmed earlier estimates of a total $1.7 billion financial impact on global airlines. Around 100,000 flights had to be cancelled with disruptions peaking on Sunday, April 18, and Monday, April 19, at 19,000 flights each affected. That is equivalent to just under 30% of the worldwide daily airline capacity.
According to the calculations, 1.2 million passengers were affected daily. In terms of passenger volumes, the domestic markets in the U.K., France and Germany were hardest hit, but in terms of revenues, consequences were by far the most painful in the U.K.-U.S. market where $25 million was lost daily.
Traffic between the U.K., Germany, France and the U.S. was responsible for 13% of the losses.