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Volcanic ash disruption: one year on and European Commission issues crisis preparedness update

One year after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010, the European Commission has issued an update on the measures it has taken to prepare for a similar event in future.

A wide range of follow up measures have been taken – as agreed by ministers at the Transport Council of May 4 2010 on the basis of proposals by the Commission – at international, EU and national level to improve crisis preparedness in aviation, particularly in relation to volcanic ash: but the work is ongoing.

The European Commission, Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency will participate in the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) simulation exercise on April 13 and 14 to test the effectiveness of the changes to the ICAO volcanic ash contingency plan for Europe and procedures. The Commission, based on the results of the simulation as well as its assessment of progress to date, will report back to Transport Ministers in June.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The intensive efforts over the last twelve months have paid off in terms of improving crisis planning and systems. But the work goes on. Volcanoes and other aviation crises are by their nature unpredictable and each one will be different. We can never get to zero risk but we can make maximum efforts to prepare strong systems to cope with disasters. There have been major improvements in international volcanic ash guidelines, very significant progress to fast track the Single European Sky and intensive work to produce transparent information for airlines on thresholds for ash. The volcanic ash simulation exercise this month will provide more feedback on the work that needs to be done. On this basis and on the basis of a detailed analysis of progress made, the Commission will report back to Transport Ministers in June and if necessary recommend further action to be taken."

The developments since April 2010 are outlined here.

•Date: 13th April 2011 • Region: UK/Europe •Type: Article • Topic: Transport & Logistics BC

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