On more than one occasion in 2014 news headlines have contained two words that – when used together – send a shiver down the spine of every airline boss and traveller, both of the business and leisure variety. Those words are “Iceland” and “volcano”. Should the worst case scenario arise, make sure you and your staff have a reliable travel money card and a backup plan to support them in the event of a potential stranding.
Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland
Anyone who recalls the events of April 2010 will be well aware that the scenario proposed is not one that affects Iceland alone and that you need a backup plan. When the country’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted it spewed millions of cubic meters of ash into the skies over northern Europe.
Barely visible to the naked eye from ground level, these ash particles are no less a major hazard to aircraft. Circulating in the atmosphere in such a heavy concentration they can both affect visibility and cause damage to engines.
When the risk became apparent, a zone in which airspace was closed crept down across the continent. In the UK, Scotland alone was cut off first – meaning travelers on regular shuttle services such as London to Edinburgh had to make alternative arrangements… all because of a natural phenomenon taking place nearly 1,000 miles from the Scottish capital. As the ash travelled, so the airspace restrictions increased to a point that air travel across most of the continent was cancelled.
You Need a Backup Plan
The thing is this was not a once in a lifetime occurrence – such circumstances could very likely occur again, and indeed there have already been a few scares since 2010. Responsible companies who rely on air travel for any part of their business should make preparations for such a scenario unfolding in future.
On the financial side the media was full of bad business news during the 2010 incident. From BMW temporarily suspending production at three of its German plants due to interruptions in the supply of parts, to the Kenya Flower Council stating that 3,000 tons of flowers had to be destroyed as they could not be exported to European markets, the effects were far reaching.
Besides the effects on trade and commerce, people must be looked after. Thousands were stranded at points across the globe and no-one was immune.
The Prime Minister of Norway, for example, needing to return to business in Oslo from a conference in New York had to fly to Madrid – one of the few outposts remaining open in Europe – then travel from there to Basel and ultimately make the rest of the journey from Switzerland to Norway by car.
Think how many people – just like you and your staff or colleagues – had travelled to an overseas city for a one day meeting and then found themselves confronted with news reports that could give no indication of when they might be able to fly home again.
Caxton FX currency cards are already an invaluable tool to business and the business traveller. But should an incident like Eyjafjallajokull occur again, they really can come in to their own. If you find yourself stranded on the other side of the Atlantic for example, your company can top the card up as required.
It may not get you home any quicker but it will at least make sure you are fed, watered and accommodated within reasonable company parameters for as long as is required.