War in Europe: Alliance air exclusion zones hit holiday flights

The war in the Balkans is creating chaos for the travel and tourism industries as they prepare for the start of the summer holiday season. Flights are being delayed or re-routed, and thousands of holiday and business travellers are shunning the region because of the conflict.

Nato has imposed an air exclusion zone over Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, and Bosnia, and there is restricted flying over Croatia and Hungary. Airlines have been forced to cancel or re-route flights, adding to journey times and fuel costs. It is understood 30 per cent of flights in Europe are being delayed because of the military operations.

Kieran Daly, editor of Air Transport Intelligence, an internet wire service, said this would put Europe's air traffic control system under huge pressure. "It will add to what is already very severe congestion in European airspace," he said. "We have reached the point where the airspace is full.

"When whole chunks of airspace are no-go areas, it starts to become horrific because of the knock-on effects. The whole system is hit by a ripple effect. But for obvious reasons the airlines are not making a noise about it."

The Guild of Business Travel Agents said people were putting off business trips because of the war. "The majority of business travellers are not going to that whole region," said the guild's chairman, Don Lunn. "It is even affecting southern Italy."

Southern Mediterranean holiday resorts are braced for a surge in bookings as holidaymakers scrap plans to go to central Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. Ian Epps, director for emerging markets at American Express Europe, said: "Some people will feel averse to travelling to Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, and many will be looking for other destinations such as Spain, Portugal and southern Europe."

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) believes tourism would be affected if the allies launched a land campaign. "I can expect people to feel negative about going away and lying in the sun while people they know might be on active service," said a spokesman, Keith Betton.

Thomson Travel Group, which owns Thomson Holidays, said the conflict - combined with threats by Turkish Kurdish guerrillasto kill tourists - could hit profits. Paul Brett, the group's chief executive, said eastern Mediterranean destinations had been weakened by the war, although demand for holidays in the western Mediterranean remained strong.

Lufthansa said the fighting contributed to a fall in profits to DM111m (pounds 37.3m) from DM324m in its latest quarter. The chairman, Jurgen Weber, said increased military air traffic at Frankfurt, the airline's hub, had added an additional 20 to 30 minutes to flying times.

According to British Airways, however, the no-fly zones have had a "minor impact". Flights to destinations such as Istanbul, Athens, and Venice were being delayed, said a spokesman, but the increase in fuel use was minimal. "We have obviously suspended flights to Belgrade," he added, "but that was not a great money-spinner."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London