Almost 7 million passengers are currently stranded at 313 airports around the world. In Hong Kong, European nationals desperate to get home have little choice but to wait for the situation to improve.
“Since all the hotels in Hong Kong are full, our company had to book a pretty expensive hotel in Hong Kong, which costs around, I don’t know, 250 Euros each day. And we are here with five colleagues for four nights now, so do the maths, it’s pretty expensive,” said Bert Groot-Hulze, a business passenger from the Netherlands.
“Yesterday we have a price of room at 250 Euro, at midday, it was 460 Euro, and in the evening, the price was 800 Euro a room,” said French tourist Busi Daniel, French tourist.
There were similar scenes of frustration in New York. Some passengers were considering drastic measures to get across the Atlantic.
“We have contacted the Irish embassy here and they are supposed to ring us back. So we would hope that we can get home in a ferry if we can’t get a flight. But we are waiting because with our airline we have to be here physically for stand by. It’s like first come first served,” said Breeda McGuinness, a stranded passenger from Dublin.
The volcanic ash cloud is likely to have a greater economic impact on the aviation industry than the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.
The European Commission is standing firm, insisting it’s not prepared to compromise passenger safety.