Home' InDaily : April 23rd 2010 Contents April 23 - 29, 2010
5The Independent Weekly
With a cloud of volcanic ash
hanging over their heads,
Helen White was stranded
in Vienna and Bre Hill was stuck in
Last Wednesday s Iceland volcano
eruption has caused chaos over Europe
and much of the world, shutting down
air space for five days with thousands
of travellers not knowing when they
would reach their destinations.
The no-fly decision is likely to
cripple struggling airlines as they cope
with a huge backlog of travellers.
Yesterday morning, the first flights
arrived in Australia from Europe,
and Ms White was hopeful her Qantas
flight home from Heathrow would go
She was comparatively lucky.
She suffered only a minor financial
setbacks and will be able to make it
back to work on Tuesday.
"But my brother was supposed to fly
to London yesterday for work and has
just been told the earliest he ll be able
to fly is May 9," she said.
Still in Adelaide, Ms Hill had to
cancel a long-planned-for, two-week
"I m just so sad," Ms Hill said, star-
ing wistfully into the clear Adelaide
"My flight was cancelled on Friday
and the only reassurance they gave
sat paranoid next to my mobile all
weekend hoping, but after five days
there was no point going any more."
Travellers on a tight budget spent a
week camping in airport "departure"
lounges, unable to afford extra
The aviation industry, which is
still struggling following the global
financial crises, said the disruption
had cost hundreds of millions of
Dubai-based Emirates put its costs
at about $50 million, while Qantas
said it had spent at least an extra $10
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce
said it would take a week to clear the
massive backlog of travellers stranded
by the ash cloud.
The travel insurance industry also
looks to be hit hard, with Australia s
largest travel insurance provider
saying its claims would top $8 million.
Some companies are claiming the
event was an "act of God" and refusing
to cover some expenses.
A spokeswoman for the Insurance
Council of Australia said providers
could use their discretion when
determining claims from disasters.
More chaos to come: Page 11
Close call: planes were grounded but a helicopter gets close to Eyjafjallajokull s crater.
Photo: Teresa Kileff
Clean Seas Tuna s vision for a revolu-
tion in breeding southern bluefin tuna
is fading, with major stockbroking
firm RBS Morgan s ceasing coverage
of the stock.
RBS Morgan s told private clients
in confidential advice on April 8 that
"following a review of our coverage
universe based on market capitalisa-
tion, we cease coverage of Clean Seas
The advice said the downgrades
were driven by more conservative
estimates on kingfish costs, with the
business taking longer than expected
to turn around, and pushing out the
first year of southern bluefin sales to
financial year 2013.
The broking firm also reduced Clean
Seas target price from 33 cents to 15
cents, well down on its one-time high
Melbourne-based broker Lonsec,
whose associate company LCS Capital
underwrote Clean Seas December 2005
float, also expressed concern about the
future of the operation.
Lonsec s Norman Graham said
the company had several options,
including splitting the tuna breeding
research business from its kingfish
"Recent results show the kingfish
operation is not providing the cash
flow needed to keep the speculative
SBT program running," Mr Graham
"It might be time for the businesses
to be split so they can make the needed
efficiencies to get the kingfish business
back on track. The problem they
have is even if there is a successful
spawning of the southern bluefin and
the fingerlings survive long enough to
be transferred into sea cages, they will
have to pay for that infrastructure.
"The company can t run on the
vision of Hagan Stehr alone and I m
sure the recently appointed chairman
John Ellice-Flint is aware of that.
"He and new managing director
Clifford Ashby are the right people
to take the hard decisions needed.
But it certainly hasn t turned out as
One Adelaide stockbroker who
declined to be named said he was "flab-
bergasted" when told that Japanese
researchers had spent the last 30 years
trying to replicate the southern bluefin
tuna breeding cycle and had been
Mr Ashby did not respond to
requests for a response.
Muddy waters over
Clean Seas money
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