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Transport ministers meet to agree on response to volcanic ash cloud crisis

4-May-2010 9:01 AM

European Transport Ministers will conduct an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on 04-May-2010, to discuss a range of possible short-term actions and structural measures to respond to the repercussions of the volcanic ash crisis. European Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, Siim Kallas, will present to the ministers proposed measures to aid passengers and the air transport industry overcome the crisis. The package proposes structural changes including:

  • Coordinated European action to review safety assessment for volcanic activity at EU level and to revise the ICAO guidelines by Sep-2010;
  • Fast tracking critical elements of the Single European Sky II package;
  • Proposals to put in place pan-European mobility planning, so different transport modes can substitute for each other in a crisis situation;
  • Europe-wide support measures for passengers and industry, including coordinated enforcement of air passenger rights and application of rules on state aid;
  • Establishing an aviation platform, with all stakeholders at European level, to facilitate long-term coordination with the air transport sector. [more]

European Commission: "The question is not if but when this kind of crisis will happen again. It could be next month; it could be in 50 years' time. But volcano eruptions and other crisis events do not respect any rules, so we need to be more flexible and agile in our response. First, we need coordinated European action to help millions of passengers and an industry which has been hard hit by this unprecedented crisis. Then we need to do everything possible so people never have to re-live this kind of situation again. For that, we need to break new ground. Full implementation of the Single European Sky and a review of safety assessment for volcanic activity are critical to manage such crises in the future. The other major priority is to better coordinate and improve pan-European mobility to ensure that transport modes can inter-connect and act as a safety valve for each other in a crisis situation," Siim Kallas VP in charge of transport. Source: European Commission, 03-May-2010.