Going nowhere: would-be travellers are greeted with a list of cancellations at Dublin airport last week

RYANAIR and Aer Lingus stand to lose more than €8m a day in revenue from the disruption to their flight schedules because of drifting ash being spewed into the atmosphere from an Icelandic volcano.

Ryanair has grounded most of its planes at airports across northern Europe until Monday afternoon, while Aer Lingus is mainly operating just its transatlantic routes out of Dublin and Shannon airports.

Bloxham Stockbrokers aviation analyst Joe Gill said not all revenue would be lost as the airlines would be able to save on costs such as fuel, ground handling and airport charges.

"It this was to be extended into next week or if it was to be a repeated event, it becomes a much bigger issue," he said. "At the moment I'd estimate the losses in low single-digit millions."

Ryanair has been forced to cancel services in some of its main markets including the UK, northern France, northern Germany, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Holland until tomorrow.

The International Air Transport Association said its "conservative" estimate for losses at airlines globally was about €150m a day.

It added: "In addition to lost revenues, airlines will incur added costs for re-routing of aircraft, care for stranded passengers and stranded aircraft at various ports."