Air Traffic Management in Volcanic Ash Events in Europe: A Year After Eyjafjallajökull Eruption

The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 caused a major impact on aviation and spurred key players: the aviation regulators, aviation experts and political bodies into action. Lessons learned were used to build or improve the crisis management for operations in the volcanic ash episodes. Impact of Eyjafjallajökull eruption on European air traffic management system brought several issues forward. One of them is: “information exchange improvement regarding the volcanic ash alerts, messages and other related communication”. Here, the authors will focus on how this issue was addressed in Europe during the past year, and on intermediate results of applied actions, through the analysis of the latest Volcanic Ash Exercise (VOLCEX) 11/01 and the eruption of Grímsvötn in May 2011. The exercise conducted in April 2011 focused on testing the effectiveness of new processes and new information tools, and was completed just a month before the eruption of Grímsvötn volcano. The post-event analysis shows that the new processes and information tools enabled airlines, National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs) and Air Navigation Service Providers to better manage flight operations. Although the Grímsvötn eruption was one of the largest in Iceland in the last hundred years, the impact on aviation was much lower than in 2010. The authors will provide rationale for it. Some open issues remain: harmonizing the process of managing volcanic ash episodes in Europe, providing a guidance material for airlines on performing safety risk assessment (SRA) and assisting NSAs in overseeing submitted SRAs, mutual recognition of accepted SRAs by States and resolving the information overload during volcanic ash events.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 91st Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01365979
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 12-3009
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 23 2012 8:44AM