Ash cloud forces Aussies to dip into bank savings accounts

Swathes of Australian air travellers could have been forced to withdraw money from their savings accounts due to disruptions caused by a volcanic ash cloud.

Passengers hoping to fly between major cities have had to shell out huge sums of money to make the long journeys via car, as 200 flights were grounded on Monday (June 20th 2011).

Drivers at Aerial Capital Group – which has a huge fleet of taxis – told Bloomberg that the firm had sent five vehicles on a 650 km trip from Canberra to Melbourne, as desperate commuters tried to get around the country.

"I'd never had anyone who wanted us to drive them to Melbourne. We are completely booked out," operations manager Shane Stephens told the news provider.

More than 20,000 Qantas passengers have been affected by the disruptions caused by the debris deriving from the recent Chilean volcano eruption.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that many travellers have been upset by the extortionate rates charged by hire car companies, with some claiming that such firms are taking advantage of the situation.

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