This time last year the Icelandic volcano that no-one could pronounce caused unforgettable travel chaos. This time around it is a different volcano, although similarly unpronounceable and with predictably similar results. The Ash cloud is due to hit the UK today and already many flights have been cancelled in Scotland. The UK visit of the US President has been affected too, with Air Force One having to change its flight schedule from Ireland. Civil Aviation Authority chief executive, Andrew Haines, is hopeful that this time we will be better prepared, but it is a difficult time all round for the airlines, with share prices in the major European carriers falling significantly as a response to this latest threat to air travel.
There is little that can be done in the face of natural disasters but there is cautious optimism that current unpredictable weather, combined with a less serious eruption and greater knowledge compared with last year, will see much less disruption to European flights this time. With everything already pointing to a record breaking summer for stay at home travellers, this latest volcanic eruption has come at a bad time for the overseas tourism and travel industry, but perhaps with every ash cloud comes a silver lining and in this case it may ultimately be good for Britain.
Those thinking of booking their foreign holiday may now be thinking twice, not just in the case of unforeseen difficulties but in the extra hassles they entail whether they happen or not. Will the travel insurance cover it? Will there be short term uncertainty or long term delays? Perhaps staying at home will prove a better proposition for many people and by doing so, it will further boost the British economy, already looking forward to a great British summer.
Image: Ash Plume from Grímsvötn Volcano, Iceland – May 23 by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, on Flickr