Governing Disasters
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Governing Disasters

The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation

Edited by Alberto Alemanno

This is the first volume that addresses the complexities of the volcanic ash cloud that overshadowed Europe in April 2011, but has subsequently struck again in Australia, Chile and Europe. It does so from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing upon research from economics, law, sociology and other fields, as well as volcanology and leading expertise in jet engineering. Whilst our knowledge base is wide-ranging, there is a common focus on the practical lessons of the ash cloud crisis both for subsequent eruptions and for emergency risk regulation more generally.
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Chapter 3: The Financial Impact of the Volcanic Ash Crisis on the European Airline Industry

Maddalena Ragona, Francesca Hansstein and Mario Mazzocchi


JOBNAME: Alermanno PAGE: 1 SESS: 11 OUTPUT: Tue Sep 6 13:22:57 2011 3. The financial impact of the volcanic ash crisis on the European airline industry1 Maddalena Ragona, Francesca Hansstein and Mario Mazzocchi 3.1 INTRODUCTION In April 2010, the European air traffic was heavily disrupted by the volcanic ash cloud originated by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Even if the explosion was of low intensity, it produced an enormous cloud of ash moving through the European sky. The fact that the ash was much finer than usual, moving quickly and possibly affecting aircraft engines, led aviation authorities of concerned countries to declare most of European skies no-fly zones (NFZs). On the basis of the information immediately available, there were claims of huge economic impact on the air travel industry, even bigger than the impact engendered by the US air traffic halt following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 (European Commission, 2010). It is obviously difficult to obtain accurate estimates of the overall economic impact that can be ascribed to a natural disaster like this. Besides the unpredictable behaviour of nature (in this case not only the eruption but also weather conditions), one should consider the adaptive behaviour of people, whose complexity increases with the number of actors involved, each with different interests and motivations in managing the emergency situation (Macrae, Chapter 2). For example, after five days of air disruptions the relevant authorities raised the safety threshold at which flying...

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