Volcanic Ash Cost Bulgarian Tourism EUR 600,000Tourism | May 31, 2010, Monday // 12:37| views
Flights across Europe returned to 100% seven days after ash from an Icelandic volcano forced the shutdown of airspace and stranded thousands of passengers around the world. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Bulgaria's tour operators have suffered losses worth EUR 600,000 due to travel disruptions caused by the high-altitude ash that billowed from an erupting Icelandic volcano.
“Bulgarian tour operators and tourist agents have been incurred losses worth EUR 600,000 due to the suspended flights across Europe,” representatives of their association said at a press conference on Monday, adding that the incident has hurt the spring and summer bookings as well.
At its peak, the crisis affected 1.2 million passengers a day and 29 percent of all global aviation, according to the International Air Transport Association.
It was the worst disruption of air traffic since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001. Following those attacks, the United States closed its air space for three days, forcing Europe to postpone all transatlantic flights.
The crisis began after the volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted Wednesday and sent a cloud of ash into the atmosphere. By the next day that cloud had reached Europe, where authorities quickly closed the airspace over safety fears.
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