Aviation Crisis Management Workshop

Posted: 29 May 2012 | EUROCONTROL | No comments yet

Europe’s aviation community met on 22-23 May 2012 to explore answers to the question: “How do you best handle crises?”…

Europe’s aviation community met on 22-23 May 2012 to explore answers to the question: “How do you best handle crises?” at a workshop organised by EUROCONTROL as the ATM Network Manager nominated by the European Commission.

Matthias Ruete, Director General of the EC’s Mobility and Transport, hailed the workshop as “a very useful initiative that the European Commission fully supports, making a substantial contribution to the further evolution of crisis management in Europe.”

He saw the good participation rate – 120 participants from more than 30 States and expert organisations, such as NATO, European Space Agency (ESA), AIRPOL, and Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) – as a “demonstration of the commitment of all European States – including those beyond the borders of the European Union – and industry – beyond the aviation sector.” He added: “We are now in a position to develop crisis management on a more solid basis and to establish an effective crisis management process in Europe.”

Thirty States sent their official focal points for aviation crises, or their stand-ins. State focal points are key partners in the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC), the body that was established to support the Network Manager in coordinating the management of responses to network crises.

At the workshop, delegates discussed lessons learned from the ash crises in 2010/2011 and how these could be applied to other events with a network-wide impact. They talked about the responsibilities of various actors involved, in particular that of the Network Manager and EACCC which, they agreed, is a strategic and political layer to help in coordinating a response to a major crisis effectively.

Aviation and other transport modes such as railways, which were represented by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and maritime represented by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) need to be connected in a crisis to minimise the impact on European citizens’ mobility, so it was agreed to look at setting up practical arrangements of communicating with the other transport modes.

As Network Manager, EUROCONTROL is responsible for coordinating the management of responses to crises affecting the aviation network. As such, pertinent operational information will be published on the NM Operations Portal during a crisis, so contributing to situational awareness and helping stakeholders take informed decisions.

Delegates also saw a series of presentations on crises that could affect the network in the future, such as space weather, uncontrolled re-entry of satellites, a cyber attack, a nuclear emergency and security threats. See the dossier on crisis management on EUROCONTROL’s website for more details.

In closing the workshop, Jacques Dopagne, the Director Network Management at EUROCONTROL, remarked: “We now have a good platform for exchanging best practice in crisis management and we will make certain that State Focal Points, the EACCC and other key players stay connected. We will host other such events in the future so that we can continue to benchmark and stay prepared.”

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