The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010 was an unprecedented event for European aviation and emphasized the need for advancements in the corresponding risk management of the stakeholders involved. This study researches progress since 2010, as significant regulatory changes have been introduced to improve European and North Atlantic aviation risk management with regards to volcanic ash. A participatory stakeholder workshop with scenario narratives was set up in which stakeholders discussed obstacles in the general management of aviation during volcanic ash eruptions as well as under extreme eruption scenarios. This paper presents recommendations developed from the workshop.The research found that a better understanding is needed of the impacts that long lasting ash episodes may have on aviation. Events of long duration require improved availability of staff, e.g., with staff exchange between related agencies. Furthermore, it is recommended that staff be trained to meet accelerated demands and restructured tasks during a crisis that may last for months. It is also suggested that more challenging response exercises be used to drive stakeholders out of their comfort zone.The study provides recommendations on information exchange between the stakeholders. During an event, the large amounts of information received from scattered sources may be quite challenging. A single point of information for stakeholders could be set up to structure the information and reduce confusion. Communication products, such as maps, must be better aligned with end-user needs. Ensuring the comprehensibility of difficult features, such as the representation of uncertainty in ash distribution modelling and produced data, requires discussion with end-users prior to an event.The study stresses the need for further funding of research on the impact of ash on jet engines since lack of knowledge in this area limits the benefits of advances in ash forecasting. The application of the Safety Risk Assessment approach needs to be coordinated across nations. Strengthening society’s resilience as a whole to such events, calls for a comprehensive long-term contingency plan, including alternative transportation if aircrafts are grounded.
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2018
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