The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation
Edited by Alberto Alemanno
Chapter 3: The Financial Impact of the Volcanic Ash Crisis on the European Airline Industry
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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