Ireland’s three major airlines lost an estimated $100 million during the volcanic ash cloud debacle.

Last April,  airspace throughout Europe was closed due to a volcanic ash cloud that emanated from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajjokull.

Ireland’s three major airlines Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aer Arann received more than 1.2 million requests for flight refunds and reimbursement of living expenses from stranded travellers.

The airlines are required under EU law to reimburse reasonable expenses incurred by stranded travellers.

All stranded passengers are entitled to accommadation, food and transport expenses.

Aer Lingus was forced to cancel 2,128 flights which resulted in “a very large volume of requests for refunds and compensation claims”. Aer Lingus said that more than 272,000 passengers were affected by the cancellations and the airline has given 60,000 refunds.

Aer Lingus said the average claim is $750 and expect the cost of the disruption to exceed $25million.

“The exact cost is not yet apparent as we are still receiving claims on a daily basis, but we are confident that it will exceed this amount [$25 million].

Ryanair was forced to cancel 9,400 flights, which affected 1.5 million passengers.

Speaking at a press conference in London yesterday, chief executive Michael O’Leary said claims for 1.1 million passengers had been processed with a further 100,000 to go.

O’Leary expects Ryanair to loose more than $65 million to refunds and reimbursements.

Aer Arann, a small Irish airliner estimates that they lost between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

However some passengers are finding it difficult to get refunds from the airlines.

Chief executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland Dermot Jewell said he had received complaints from those that had not been reimbursed.

“We’re of the opinion that everyone is holding back as it’s very quiet. It’s either the calm before the storm or everyone is getting what they want.”


Aer Lingus plane taking off - air travel disruptions avoided