Exports by air uncertain
‘We have seven tonnes of fresh fillets waiting at Keflavík airport to be flown abroad, but the situation is very uncertain at present, to say the least. We are in regular contact with our customers in Europe. If any possibilities appear, we will make full use of them, that is as long as our customers are happy with any solutions we can come up with,’ HB Grandi’s head of fresh fish sales Solveig Arna Jóhannesdóttir said. Exports of fresh fish by air are currently suspended while air traffic between Iceland and the rest of Europe has come to a halt due to volcanic activity.
The volcanic activity that broke out last Wednesday has already had far-reaching consequences that have been more serious than anything that had been anticipated. Although the eruption is considered relatively small, it has halted air traffic across Western Europe for more than two days. The volcanic ash has been carried through the jet stream south and east over mainland Europe and thousands of flights across an area reaching from northern Norway to Poland, Austria, Germany and France have been cancelled for security reasons.
‘Everything is uncertain right now. We were waiting yesterday for flights to be allowed again. We had some fresh fish that was to be sent with Bluebird and some that was to be shipped with Icelandair. Bluebird was given clearance to fly that was then recalled, so the fish is still at Keflavík airport,’ Solveig Arna Jóhannesdóttir said, and added that there was a possibility that there could be some flights to Scotland, but nothing had been confirmed.
‘We are keeping our options open. One is to ship it by air to whichever airport is most likely to be open and then by road to our customers. But this would need their approval. The problem is that a buyer who wants fresh fish today may well be less interested tomorrow. But the situation is made more complex as we are now getting to the point at which we need to make decisions on how to manage production here and for which markets we should be producing,’ Solveig Arna Jóhannesdóttir said.