Emirates Airlines is facing loss of 1 million U.S. dollars so far only for refunding the stranded class passengers, who were unable to board flights in Dubai due to widespread disruptions on Europe routes following the volcanic eruption in Iceland, Gulf News reported Saturday.
About 3,500 hotel rooms plus food and transport have been provided for Emirates passengers since Thursday, Richard Vaughan, divisional senior vice president of Emirates, was quoted as saying.
Emirates Ailine has placed the following announcement on its Web site
DUBAI, U.A.E., 17th April 2010:
Online check in is currently suspended for all Emirates flights. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
All flights to the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have been cancelled on Saturday 17th April. Flights to Paris, Venice and the morning flight to Milan are also cancelled.
If you are travelling to other European destinations, please check your flight status using the tool below. This information is updated every 5 mins.
Please do not go to the airport if your flight is cancelled.
From Saturday, Emirates will stop providing accommodation to passengers trying to bo\ard in Dubai as “in the meantime everybody planning to travel should know about the disruptions,” he said.
Vaughan added that 38 Emirates flights have been cancelled since Thursday after the volcanic ash cloud started spreading over Europe.
“It is far too dangerous to fly through the cloud,” he said. “Engines might stop working as it has been the case with a British Airways plane some years ago.”
According to Vaughan, the BA airliner crossed a volcanic ash cloud causing all four engines to malfunction which led the plane drop from 35,000 feet to 18,000 feet (10,668 meters to 5,486 meters).
“Luckily, the pilots managed to stabilize the plane,” he said.
There is currently no indication of how long the situation will go on. The ash cloud was moving southeast over Europe Friday, with more air space being closed in Austria and East Europe.
The ash dust as such is “extremely toxic,” Vaughan said, adding that a fallout has been already registered on the ground in Scotland and Ireland, but the majority of it is still in the air.
“We might expect more problems as the ash fallout starts covering larger parts of Europe,” he said.