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.