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Iceland volcanic cloud hits Pakistan airline hard

The cloud of volcanic ash that has darkened European skies is still far from South Asia, but in yet another sign of ever-increasing globalization, Pakistan's national airline has been hit particularly hard by it.

A big portion of Pakistan International Airlines' international routes serve destinations where Pakistanis have relocated. For instance PIA, as the airline is known, has direct flights to Bradford, a Northern England city where people of Pakistani descent make up more than 15 percent of the population. PIA also flies directly to Birmingham, Manchester, Oslo, Paris and Barcelona, all cities with sizable Pakistani populations.

The problem is, these routes have all been affected by the ash plume that originated in Iceland. A PIA official told Pakistani newspaper The News that 65 flights have already been canceled and that 16,000 passengers are waiting to embark for their destination. The airline estimates it has already lost $10 million and that its loss would ballon to $25 million in a matter of days.

PIA is obviously not alone in this mess, but for an airline that reported a $62 million loss for the whole of last year, $25 million is serious money.