CarTrawler, provider of a next-generation car rental distribution system, has estimated that the disruption caused by the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland has cost the European car rental industry €65 million.
The unprecedented travel disruption across Europe resulted in 22 percent of global car rental bookings being canceled, with over 95 percent of passengers not collecting their rental cars at most European airports. The disruption resulted in a cancellation of 100,000 global flights over the period which affected 10 million passengers.
"The eruption caused enormous difficulties for the car rental industry and particularly in the area of fleet management. Car rental companies received a large demand for international one-way rentals from travelers who were stuck abroad and needed to make their way home by road. However, the subsequent logistical difficulties in returning the vehicles have resulted in nearly 10 percent of car rental fleets being located outside their home country," said Greg Turley, CEO of CarTrawler.
"This crisis will particularly impact independent companies based in holiday destinations as tourists were not able to pick up their reserved vehicles. Car rental companies operating in island economies were the most severely affected as travelers could not make it to the airport by other means to pick up their car," he said.
The volcanic crisis also meant that car rental companies were subject to some limited negative press as consumers requested international one-way rentals. One-way rentals are more expensive due to the logistics involved in transporting cars back across borders compounded with the loss of rental days while cars are being repatriated to their native countries.