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Australia's ash cloud woes, by the numbers

The ash cloud from the June 4 eruption of a Chilean volcano is drifting over Australia for a second time, grounding flights and further choking tourism and airline industries that are already suffering.

By Staff writer / June 21, 2011

An ash cloud from a volcano in Chile wreaked havoc on Australian flights again on Tuesday, resulting in canceled flights at Sydney's airport.

Daniel Munoz/Reuters


An ash cloud from the June 4 eruption of Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex is making a second lap around the globe, crossing Australian airspace today after disrupting travel to and from Australia and New Zealand for six days last week.

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Flights are grounded because the ash is capable of damaging the airplanes' engines.

Although the country's tourism industry has declined to give a speculative figure for the losses, an industry group told Xinhua that Australia's tourism industry is losing at least 10.5 million US dollars a day as a result of the grounded flights.

The industry has already suffered from rising fuel costs and travel problems caused by floods in Queensland and the tsunami and earthquake in Japan earlier this year, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Australia's Courier-Mail reports that the airline industry is losing more than 30 million US dollars a day, coming on top of more than $40 million last week.

Some facts and figures from the Australian press about the ash cloud and airport shutdown:

With airlines incapacitated, Greyhound stepped up its services, pulling buses from mining communities into the major cities to help those who were traveling within the country. The Age writes that the chaos caused by the cloud has revived the clamor for a high speed rail system connecting the cities of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a third loop around the world for the ash cloud is not likely.


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