As invisible as the global recession, dust from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano cast a cloud over the April 19 opening of Bauma in Munich. The triennial construction-equipment show was expected to draw over 500,000 people.
With the city’s international airport shut, prospective visitors joined hundreds of thousands of Europeans left stranded. Creating engine-stalling dust, the April 14 volcanic eruption triggered halts to a reported 75% of European commercial flights, with total bans in Britain and elsewhere.
What should have been a two-hour flight for Nigel Chell, communications manager at U.K.-based exhibitor Bamford Excavators Ltd., became a day’s journey by train and car. For exhibitor Stefan Pruckmayr of Doka Industrie GmbH, Austria, a three-hour drive was all it took. But his clients from the U.S. and the Middle East were less lucky. An enterprising representative of show organizer Messe München GmbH gathered seven buses to transport visitors from Turkey, arriving on the show’s second day.