IT industry hard hit by flight ban

The ban on flying imposed in Europe because of ash from erupting Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajoekull is beginning to severely affect shipments of components and products in the computer industry.

And it’s also having an effect on management structures, with senior executives at computer companies effectively prevented from their usual transatlantic jaunts.

One channel source described the situation as a “nightmare”. He said that stocks were running low in the UK and there’s nothing on the way in. He doesn’t mean executives. He means products.

While it’s feasible to ship product and components using container ships, the big limiting factor is time with shipments taking 21 days or longer.

The situation shows no immediate sign of improving and has affected a number of other industries that rely on cargo planes.

NATS, the organisation in charge of air traffic control in the UK, has imposed a ban on flights in the country’s air space until at least 01:00 BST tomorrow. Meanwhile, it’s being reported that the plume of ash may extend west during the course of today and affect the eastern Canadian seaboard.

UK Met OfficeThis graphic from the UK Meteorological Office shows where the ash plume is likely to be at 01:00 BST tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, the airlines have reported that they’re being seriously affected financially by the ban, while stocks of fresh fruit and flowers, usually flown in from Africa, are beginning to disappear in UK supermarkets. Medical supplies are also being affected.

Fedex has said that it won’t accept deferred international freight shipments bound for Europe and in the meantime is “trucking” shipments within Europe. But not enclosing passengers in boxes, although the hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded wouldn’t mind, long as there were airholes and duvets inside the boxes…