Volcanic ash affects UK businesses

Businesses around the UK are being forced to put business continuity plans into action after the eruption of a volcano in Iceland threw volcanic ash into the skies and grounded millions of passengers around the world.

So far the ash shows no signs of moving from UK air space and the cost to the economy could be great if the airlines are unable to make flights into or out of the region for the next few days.

In Scotland firms have been instigating emergency measures to ensure that they can still operate at close to maximum and many have said that the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 had caused less of an impact than the current volcanic crisis.

Airlines are unable to do anything about the ash and it is expected that their losses will run into the billions. Meanwhile, holiday makers away for Easter are stuck in their hotels. Soon thousands of school children could be without teachers and businesses without key members of staff.

Sources say that in Scotland many businesses are reliant on last minute deliveries of products from overseas to provide their services and make money. The impact of the recession combined with this latest incident could be the final blow for many firms if they are unprepared for such damaging circumstances.

UK logistics expert John Menzies told The Herald that most were able to deal with the crisis for the first one or two days, but the prospect of prolonged operation without adequate flights would leave many in a difficult position.

It is believed that it has cost the average airline about a quarter of a percent of their total yearly revenue to cancel the flights thus far made necessary by the disaster and that the result will be much higher summer prices.

Businesses that have proper continuity plans in place may be able to allow staff to operate from abroad if they are able to find an internet connection. The longer this crisis continues, the more necessary such drastic measures may become.

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