In 2010 the ash plume from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused six days of disruption, leading to 100,000 flights being cancelled, stranding 10 million passengers, costing the airline and travel industries millions in lost revenue. The experts seem to be predicting that the disruption from this year’s volcano Grimsvotn to be less than that experienced in 2010, despite University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson saying this was Grimsvotn's largest eruption for 100 years, "much bigger and more intensive than Eyjafjallajokull". These forecasts of less disruption are because although the volcano is more active, it appears that the type of ash was different last year with smaller, more abrasive particles posing a greater risk to jet engines. Further changes in operating practises mean that planes are allowed to fly through ash clouds that are up to 20 times denser than they were last year. Procedural changes from airlines and aviation authorities have also changed following the experiences of 2010 with Phillip Hammond telling the BBC radio today that “we’ve moved on to a different way of working, we won’t be closing airspace”
So far, around 250 flights have been cancelled in Scotland and the North of England as the ash cloud gradually moves southward. Affected airlines include BA, KLM, Easyjet, Flybe, Aer Lingus, Loganair and Eastern Airways.
In 2010 most of the cost of dealing with the disruption was picked up by the airlines directly, with some customers being able to claim for some additional losses through their travel insurance if they were covered for “natural disasters”, but what was the impact on car hire customers? Well, most company charge you extra money if you fail to turn up for your hire car, or if you return it late. There is also a potential problem with carhire insurance that has been bought on collection of the vehicle to cover the specific period of hire on a daily basis. If the car can’t be returned to the rental company for an extra day or two after the daily rental insurance has ran out what cover does the customer have? If there is a problem due to the impact of the ash cloud who is liable, the customer? The rental company? The airlines?
Thankfully help is on hand. If you have an annual policy with iCarhireinsurance then you know you are covered if you have to keep hold of your hire car for an extra few days, our annual carhire insurance policies cover you for a whole year; your cover doesn’t stop at the end of your agreed rental period giving you maximum flexibility and protection. In addition, when you buy an annual policy from us you have the option of adding car hire cancellation insurance for just £9.99, this provides you with extra protection against additional hire car costs if your travel plans change at short notice.