April 19th, 2010
05:00 PM GMT
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The cloud of ash from an Iceland volcano is casting a shadow over the delicate economic recovery in Europe as the cancellation of flights in key markets entered its fifth day costing the airline industry hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Should the airlines be bailed out?
Should the airlines be bailed out?

By the end of the day on Sunday, a total of 63,000 flights had been canceled in the four days since ash from a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland closed the airspace of a large swath of Europe, according to air traffic authority Eurocontrol.

One industry group said the air travel and freight disruptions are costing airlines at least $200 million a day.

"This crisis is costing airlines at least $200 million a day in lost revenues and the European economy is suffering billions of dollars in lost business," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association.

He told CNN that if flight restrictions continue, some small and medium-sized airlines could be put in jeopardy.

Even airlines based far from the ash face a financial knock-on effect: Thai Airways, based in Bangkok, estimates the cloud is costing the airline $3 million a day and has stranded 6,000 of its passengers.

On Monday, the British Airlines Pilot Association called on the UK government to rescue airlines in a banking-style bailout because of the severity of the disruptions.

British Airways also said in a statement that "European airlines have asked the EU and national governments for financial compensation for the closure of airspace."

We want to know what you think.

Should the airlines be bailed out? Should airlines receive financial compensation because of the volcanic ash cloud?

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


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