After causing five days of cancelled flights, the Chilean ash cloud from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano is finally clearing up out of the Australian airspace just in time for the holiday weekend.
Today the Qantas Group, Jetstar, Pacific Blue of Virgin Australia, and Air New Zealand are resuming flights from Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown.
Pacific Blue is servicing flights from Auckland to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Air New Zealand has resumed domestic New Zealand and trans-Tasman services today with the exception of Queenstown. Depending on the ash conditions later on today, Queensland flights could be resumed.
Full service flights from Perth and Tasmania were resumed yesterday and eight extra flights were added by Jetstar to alleviate the backlog of passengers.
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New Zealand’s south island is still covered by the ash cloud and Christchurch flights are not being resumed yet. However Qantas will be reviewing conditions later on tonight.
The financial effect of the flight interruptions on the profit margin of these airline companies remains to be seen; 2011 has been a tough year for airlines due to employee strikes, rising fuel prices, and natural disasters.
Analysts from ABC have estimated that the cost of this interruption for Qantas alone was $20 million per day and predicts some Qantas' share price dips.