Airline Operations and Volcanic Ash: Lessons from Eyjafjallajökull

Airline Operations and Volcanic Ash: Lessons from Eyjafjallajökull

In the wake of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) developed crucial procedures for airline operators to mitigate the risks of volcanic eruptions.

This step was a game changer in aviation safety, and echoed by the priorities highlighted in EASA Safety Information Bulletin No.: 2010-17R4.

Understanding the Contamination Zones:

1. Low Contamination Area: Here, operations are mostly normal, but vigilance is key. Pilots and airlines must stay informed about the ash cloud’s movements. Regular engine checks are imperative to ensure safety.

2. Medium Contamination Area: In these zones, the risk escalates. Airlines must undertake risk assessments, often requiring rerouting or altering flight schedules. Communication with meteorological services becomes crucial for real-time updates.

3. High Contamination Area: This is a no-fly zone. The high ash concentration poses serious risks to aircraft engines and visibility. In these scenarios, airlines must prioritise alternate routes and safety above all else.

Operational Implications:

These guidelines have revolutionised how airlines respond to volcanic eruptions.

Adhering to these protocols ensures passenger safety and minimises potential aircraft damage.

It creates a carefully considered and data-driven balance between maintaining operations and ensuring safety, showcasing the dynamic nature of airline regulation management in the face of natural challenges.

If you’d like to see for yourself the UK’s Met Office volcanic ash advisories:

Annotated satellite images (some for exercise purposes only!):

Volcanic Ash Concentration graphics:

As part of our aviation consultancy, we’ll be monitoring Reykjanes and other volcanic activity likely to affect UK passengers and operators, and will report here as appropriate.

Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI
Kotter Change Leader Certified
Principal Change & Transformation Consultant
The Sixsess Consultancy

#change #businessconsultant #transformation #CMI #kotter #businessStrategy

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