20-Apr-2011 10:39 AM

EUROCONTROL announces outcomes of 2011 ash crisis exercise

EUROCONTROL announced (19-Apr-2011) that on 13 and 14-Apr-2011, EASA and the European Commission, together with 77 airlines, 14 ANSPs, 10 regulatory authorities, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres in London and Toulouse participated in a major ICAO exercise simulating a volcanic eruption in Iceland. The event was the largest volcanic ash crisis exercise ever organised. [more]

The objectives of the exercise were:

  • to test updated national and European region procedures described in the revised and agreed ICAO EUR/NAT Volcanic Eruption Contingency Plan; and
  • to simulate, together with airspace users, a scenario which includes the use of a safety risk assessment methodology which is under consideration by ICAO, EASA and national authorities.

EUROCONTROL concluded that:

  • real progress has been made since last year in improving operational efficiency while maintaining safety: by applying the revised ICAO procedures, 70% of all planned flights would have taken place, three times more than last year during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption;
  • there are still differences in the application of these revised procedures which require further efforts at European level to harmonise national responses;
  • the European Crisis Visualisation Interactive Tool for AFTCM (EVITA), developed by EUROCONTROL, allowed for improved decision-making and use of airspace by aircraft operators.