Iceland volcanic ash affected more sectors than global aviation, Oxford Economics head says


(eTN) – The April 14, 2010 eruption by Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, which spewed an ash plume which rose over three kilometers, gave not only the global travel and tourism sector heavy beating, but it impacted other sectors as well, said Adrian Cooper, who is the head of Oxford Economics.

He said, Eyjafjallajokull eruption caused the largest breakdown in European civil aviation since World War II over the course of one week. “Dramatic losses have been realized by the aviation, hospitality, trade, and corporate sectors around the world,

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As a result, he stated that Oxford Economics was commissioned by Airbus to estimate how the crisis affected the global economy.

Adrian Cooper, citing figures from Eurocontrol, said over 100,000 flights were canceled from April 14 to 21, 2010, affecting more than seven million passengers.

The Oxford Economics head stated that the impact on the global GDP for the entire week of flight disruption totaled US$4.7 billion, with Europe bearing much of the brunt, followed by the Americas, then Middle East/Africa and Asia, respectively.

Cooper also said that the impact of Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruptions extend far more than just travel-related sectors. According to the Oxford Economics head, perishable goods losses amount to US$65 million in Africa alone, electrical parts and equipment lost over $100 million and productivity losses totaled up to US$280-US$700 million.

An ongoing crisis
According to Cooper, since the massive airspace shutdown in the first week, another 5,000 flights have been sporadically canceled. “This would add an additional 5 percent to the first week impacts on the basis of canceled flights – ie US$250 million extra lost GDP.”

So, Cooper said, the total cost now is US$5 billion lost GDP. “And these effects are continuing, creating ongoing uncertainty over future flight schedules which is damaging the global economy.”

Cooper announced these findings at the tenth annual global summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council, which was held at the Chinese capital city of Beijing.