The European Commission has issued new guidelines to reduce the disruption of flights and the closure of airspace throughout Europe due to volcanic ash cloud.
The improved measures are a cumulative effort of the European Commission, Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency in consultation with airlines, regulators, and aircraft and engine manufacturers.
The new guidelines will provide member states with greater flexibility to manage their own airspace and minimise flight disruptions, while ensuring the highest level of safety.
It will create four airspace zones, such as the white zone for normal flight operations and the red zone, where some volcanic ash can be found but flight operations will be safe.
A grey zone has been allocated for situations where flight operations will be allowed under certain conditions and a black zone where flights will be banned due to the presence of high levels of ash concentrations.
The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre will publish colour charts at six-hour intervals, while Eurocontrol will update the charts on its CFMU NOP portal.
The EC and Eurocontrol will also create a European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell to ensure a timely response is offered for any future pan-European crisis affecting aviation.
It will facilitate crisis situations management in the European (ECAC) region and will be activated when circumstances will go beyond the normal environment of operations.