Home » Aviation » Europe air disruption has minimal effect on RP

PHILIPPINE shippers have been relatively spared from the effects of the recent closure of European airports due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that cut off European airspace starting April 15.

Philippine-Europe trade contributes only about 10-15% to the country’s total trade. The bulk is still accounted for by the US and Japan.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines has also been spared since it does not serve Europe to begin with. Philippine carriers were earlier banned from flying to the continent due to safety considerations.

Last week, European governments temporarily opened their airports and air spaces.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), however, said the airline industry stood to lose at least $1.7 billion from the Icelandic ash cloud that halted air traffic for nearly a week. With roughly $400 million a day lost from the ash cloud, IATA said the incident was far worse financially than the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Air express operators operating in the Philippines such as Federal Express (FedEx) and TNT Express said they are now taking advantage of the limited opening of the European airspace to ship cargoes.

FedEx said it resumed services to Europe from all points it serves globally, although as of press time it was still not accepting International Express Freight or Airport-to-Airport shipments.

TNT Express, which maintains its main air hub in Liege, Belgium, also resumed several flights last week.

“With the contingency plans put in place since April 15, there are little to no backlogs in TNT’s facilities in Europe and TNT is also doing its utmost to secure commercial uplift from Asia to Europe, until it can again operate its scheduled B747 freighter service between the two continents,” it said.

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