Travel Retail and Duty Free Business Intelligence    Tuesday 24 May 2016


‘Worse than 9/11’: Europe’s airlines and airports urge immediate reassessment of flight restrictions

Published: 18/04/10

Source: ©The Moodie Report

By Martin Moodie

"With 313 airports paralysed at the moment, the impact is already worse than 9/11. More than 6.8 million passengers have been affected so far and European airports have lost close to €136 million."
Olivier Jankovec
Director General
ACI Europe
EUROPE. Airports Council International (ACI) Europe and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) today called for an immediate reassessment of the flight restrictions caused by volcanic ash dispersion from Iceland that has paralyzed European airspace in recent days.

Underlining the gravity of the situation, the two associations said in a joint statement: “For the fourth consecutive day, airlines and airports across Europe are facing the unprecedented closure of almost all the continent’s air space, due to the threat of volcanic ash dispersion.

“The situation has resulted in the total standstill of intra-European mobility by air, coupled with a huge ripple effect on long-haul aviation to the US, Asia and elsewhere. With over 63,000 flights cancelled since Thursday, many millions of passengers affected so far and a devastating impact for the aviation industry, the consequences are now expanding to the wider economy given the reliance of businesses on aviation.

“While Europe’s airlines and airports consider safety to be an absolute priority, they are questioning the proportionality of the flight restrictions currently imposed.

"The eruption of the Icelandic volcano is not an unprecedented event and the procedures applied in other parts of the world for volcanic eruptions do not appear to require the kind of restrictions that are presently being imposed in Europe,” said ACI and AEA.

AEA and ACI EUROPE said they supported the efforts initially deployed by the European Commission, Eurocontrol, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and national authorities to gain control of the threat posed to safety, but called for an immediate reassessment of the present restrictions at European level.

AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus said: “Verification flights undertaken by several of our airlines have revealed no irregularities at all. This confirms our requirement that other options should be deployed to determine genuine risk.

The Moodie BlogNew York blues
I feel sorry for so many people in our trade whose businesses were bouncing back from a desperately difficult 2009. Now many of those same businesses, not just in Europe but around the world, are running up huge daily losses. Because of a volcano in Iceland for god’s sake.
More on The Moodie Blog
“For example, the FAA [ the US Federal Aviation Administration –Ed] has a world-established process of identifying clear no-fly zones. Airlines must be able to fly where it is safe to fly and make decisions accordingly. It is what our passengers demand of us.”

ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec, commented: “With 313 airports paralysed at the moment, the impact is already worse than 9/11. More than 6.8 million passengers have been affected so far and European airports have lost close to €136 million.

“Many thousands of passengers are still stuck at airports because of this situation. While safety remains a non-negotiable priority, it is not incompatible with our legitimate request to reconsider the present restrictions.”

"This is (another) disaster for retailers. We have shops closed all over Europe and reduced pax all over the world."
As reported, the crisis has already had a devastating impact on travel retail sales and wider airport commercial revenues both in Europe and around the world.

One leading industry retail executive told The Moodie Report today: “This is (another) disaster for retailers. We have shops closed all over Europe and reduced pax all over the world. Just when things were starting to improve...”

Airport retailers and other concessionaires will be studying the force majeur clauses in their contracts, while hoping the drastic impact of the widespread airspace closure can be limited to a few days.

1 Comment(s)   Leave a comment

Development of commercial options for stranded pax


- Delayed flights for whatever the cause and whatever magnitude reduce the number of pax at any given airport

- Delayed pax have more time to shop but also limited spending resources as time elapses

- Delayed pax mood and behaviour tend to increase on the "crabbiness" scale as time elapses.

- Need for food and beverage related consumption (as typical F&B or single seving snack and beverage)increases on a per pax basis as time spent at airport increases.

- So does entertainment need or "How to use my time"

- Obviously combination of these factors can be explosive on all involved dealing with the traveling public


Other than the need for communications, on a commercial point of view we could envision the following.

From all our basic principles in commercial and concessions development program, the most important are:

- know who are your customers

- their behaviour

- their needs

- create retail entertainment and comfort for the travelers

Example of such, could be:

- Food and beverage promotions

- Theme sale event across concessions

- entertainment measures: in or outside airport such as city tour, location of cinemas etc

- Comfort measures for pax, from renting cots to partnering with "lounge operators" and expand accessibility at a fee to showers and other facilities.

- special concierge type service such as accomodations available close to the airport, etc

It does require pre-thinking, nimbleness and support of all stakeholders.

It will never make up for lost pax, on the other hand it may at least maximize revenue generation with limited number of existing passengers. Most importantly it does force us to think outside the box, and interestingly may help us to identify new opportunities on an on-going basis. T

his type of approach may assit not only in such calamities as currently experienced in European territory, and hopefully never again but some of this thinking could be used for other type of less severe calamities for stranded pax.

Changing the focus of effort in the interaction process from dealing with what can not be controlled "Mother Nature" to what can be done, may also assit at diffusing the anxiety, irritability, etc of stranded pax and make it easier on all involved with dealing with public.

Airport Operators have my sympathy in dealing with this current calamitous situation.

Best of Luck

Andre J Bergeron

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