Rather than wait for the ash to clear, one British airline has shipped its entire airplanes, loaded with cargo, on container ships. During the Icelandic ash trauma several cargo airplanes were stranded in Amsterdam destined for the Middle East.
A German carrier picked up the fully loaded cargo planes at Schiphol Airport and trucked them over the highway to Rotterdam Ocean Port. The airplanes are now strapped on top of ocean container chassis aboard the Dubai Express and on their way to Abu Dhabi.
Bosses expect to have their airplanes delivered in Abu Dhabi on time rather than waiting for the colossal air backlog to clear up. Meanwhile other air carriers are jumping on the bandwagon and shipping their stranded cargo planes on rail or by sea.
The wake up bell has sounded and is they is now considering creative alternatives like removing the wings from several older Airbus aircraft and using them as huge volume ocean containers. In a similar move an American airline is contemplating the retirement of DC10s and shipping them loaded and wingless via rail across the US.
Wide industry changes are afoot and Roger Helm, president of the Ocean Carriers Advocacy Group, is on the move in promoting ocean freight over air. At an industry gathering in Brussels Helm stated, "A little ash never stopped an ocean going container ship".