Boom in need for ferries due to ash cloud

The week of international travel chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano meant that other transport companies experienced incredible demand from travellers who could not reach their destination by air. This was also the case for DFDS Seaways, which sails daily between Copenhagen and Oslo from the terminal at Copenhagen Harbour.

“We saw an incredible boom in interest. Once flight traffic was grounded on Thursday, we received 3,200 bookings during the course of Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Copenhagen-Oslo and Amsterdam-Newcastle routes. And these were bookings that were solely due to the volcano and the ash cloud. That has never happened before. Normally, our passengers book in plenty of time via the internet, but in this case they were ringing us and our staff were incredibly busy,” comments Head of Communication Gert Jacobsen, DFDS Seaways.

The Copenhagen-Oslo route was quickly sold out, and beds were set up in the conference rooms on board the two ships on the route, “Crown of Scandinavia” and “Pearl of Scandinavia”, in order to find room for everyone. However, the maximum number of passengers was not exceeded.

DFDS Seaways put “Dana Sirena” into operation early on the Esbjerg-Harwich route after having been in dry dock, but could not otherwise put extra ships into operation on the line’s routes. That would have meant reorganising the sailing schedules for all the ships, and that was not possible, as many passengers had booked a ticket for a specific departure in plenty of time.

Gradually, as flights started taking off again, the boom gradually returned to the normal level, and Gert can look back at some positive experiences from the previous week.

“We have seen that our booking capacity functions, even when under pressure, and that our employees work really well in a crisis situation. We have never before had the opportunity to test our operations to this extent. It has been exciting to get everything to work successfully, and we have seen a spirit among our employees that is truly incredible.”

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