Friday 19th Apr 2019 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Slow return for flights in wake of Volcano

Some flights are resuming as the threat from the dust cloud created by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland starts to recede.

Lufthansa says it will  operate all long-haul flights today as well as some intra-European and domestic flights.

“During the day Lufthansa plans to expand its flight plan gradually for intra-European and domestic flights,” it said.

British Airways is not operating any short-haul flights today. It said: “We were planning to operate short-haul flights scheduled to depart from 7pm, but these have now been cancelled.”

It still hopes to operate long-haul flights which are scheduled to depart after 4pm, “however this remains subject to the full and permanent opening of airspace”.


Freight forwarders have been warning that air cargo rates will rise following the disruption.

Panalpina has warned customers that as soon as flight operations are back to normal, “additional capacity at higher cost will be required to clear backlog. Consequently airlines are implementing a rate increase with immediate effect and until further notice. Although Panalpina is working on optimising procurement in the customers’ interest, the present situation leaves no alternative but to pass on this rate increase.”

Kuehne + Nagel also warned customers: “The likely consequence could be a further increase in freight costs, in a market already short on capacity.”


Fresh fruit and flowers have been particularly affected by the disruption to air cargo operations.

Christopher Snelling, The Freight Transport Association’s head of global supply chain policy, said: “With imports of some fruit and vegetables grounded, certain fresh produce, such as exotic fruits and fresh flowers, are starting to become noticeable by their absence from our supermarket shelves. 

However, Tesco has been bringing in produce from Africa via Spain, according to chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.

He told the BBC that produce, including fruit and flowers, was being moved from Kenya to a hub in Spain, and being brought into the UK by lorry.

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