The effects of the volcano eruption in Iceland have devastated the European airline industry, not to mention stranding thousands of people all across the continent as flights were cancelled. The eruption, though, has also had a significant impact on freight operations as well.
Both FedEx and UPS have resumed flights to most of their major hubs in Europe. Spokespeople for both companies told Fleet Owner that delays are still possible as they work through the supply chain.
“Over the weekend, we ended up cancelling or diverting about 100 flights,” Sally Davenport, spokesperson for FedEx, told Fleet Owner. “At the moment, we are providing service, although there are still delays simply in the backlog of packages.”
Davenport said FedEx has resumed operations at its main hub at the Charles de Gaulle airport in France and flights from U.S. hubs in Memphis, Indianapolis and Newark are departing from Europe today. To help speed deliveries, FedEx was shipping freight throughout Europe via truck whenever possible.
UPS spokesperson Mark Dickens said the volcano has caused disruptions, but because of the company’s long history in Europe and established ground transportation network, delays were not as severe as they were for some shippers.
“We’re able to make service, by and large, with a few delays,” he said. “We’re now operating at our main hub in Cologne, Germany.”
Dickens said the company shifted international flights to airports in other parts of Europe and used trucks to transport the goods.
“I think UPS is a little bit different from other carriers,” he said. “We’ve been in Europe a long time and have an established ground” fleet.
European package giant DHL has also been affected. To accommodate the flight cancellations, the company “increased its trucking capacity to minimize delays for shipments within Europe. A three- to five-day delay is expected for shipments moving between Europe and the rest of the world,” Anita Gupta, Asia Pacific spokesperson for DHL, told Reuters.