Coping with the fallout

Even now, after all its media coverage, attempts to pronounce Eyjafjallajokull are more likely than not to meet with failure. But, while it may be hard to refer to, everyone now knows that this Icelandic volcano exists – ever since it decided to start spewing its fiery contents into the atmosphere of Northern Europe.   

Eyjafjallajokull: marginal
impact on balance
sheets 

But stranded tourists and airliners were not the only ones to have suffered the material impact of Eyjafjallajokull’s recent eruption – which left a cloud of volcanic ash in its wake that wreaked havoc on international air travel for six days. Airport operators such as Abertis, BAA and Hochtief have all lost precious revenue from the airports they run.

Ferrovial-owned BAA estimates the daily impact on adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and cash flow caused by the airport closures reached a maximum of £5 million (€5.8 million; $7.7 million) to £6 million per day across its UK airports. That could have cost it around £30 million over the six-day disruption period.

A spokesman from Abertis said the company was still crunching figures but highlighted the impact, although noteworthy, was unlikely to affect the group’s future results. Likewise, Ferrovial wrote in a statement that it could recover the lost revenue once its airports re-open, or by cutting operating expenditure, for example.

Compared with the $1.7 billion in revenues lost by airliners around the world, airport operators may have escaped Eyjafjallajokull’s fury relatively unscathed.