By Lea Pachta

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that the Icelandic volcano crisis cost airlines more than $1.7 bn (£1.1bn) in lost revenue through Tuesday–six days after the initial eruption. For a three-day period (17-19 April), when disruptions were greatest, lost revenues reached $400 million per day.

Image by: david.nikonvscanon

“Lost revenues now total more than $1.7 billion for airlines alone. At the worst, the crisis impacted 29% of global aviation and affected 1.2 million passengers a day. The scale of the crisis eclipsed 9/11 when US airspace was closed for three days,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA noted there are some cost savings related to the flight groundings. For example, the fuel bill is $110 million a day less compared to normal. But airlines face added costs including from passenger care.

“For an industry that lost $9.4 billion last year and was forecast to lose a further $2.8 billion in 2010, this crisis is devastating. It is hitting hardest where the carriers are in the most difficult financial situation. Europe’s carriers were already expected to lose $2.2 billion this year–the largest in the industry,” said Bisignani.

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