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 13: Unexpected Turbulence: On the Application of the Denied Boarding Regulation to Exceptional Situations

Morten Broberg


Morten Broberg 13.1 WHEN REALITY EXCEEDS IMAGINATION On 20 March 2010 the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull began to erupt. The first eruption was followed by a second on 14 April 2010. Due to favourable winds, ash from the new eruption began to spread across Europe and, as there was fear that the volcanic ash could pose a danger to air traffic, the authorities on 15 April 2010 began to close down European airspace. The ash cloud spread over great parts of Europe and so did the closure of airspace. The flight ban was only lifted several days later (Eurocontrol, 2010). In particular European air carriers were severely affected by the ban. Thus, according to the Financial Times (2010) the no-fly zone, which had been imposed over much of Europe, was threatening the livelihood of a number of carriers. The air carriers lost money due to much reduced revenue following the grounding of their planes and as a consequence of significant costs flowing from their obligations vis-à-vis the stranded passengers (BBC 2010a; European Commission, 2010, paras 2, 7 and 13ff) – not least obligations imposed by Regulation 261/2004,1 or the Denied Boarding Regulation as it is generally known. This Regulation lays down passengers’ minimum rights where they are denied boarding or where a flight is cancelled or delayed.2 When drafting the Denied Boarding Regulation the drafters unambiguously had the Regulation cover both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. However, the Icelandic ash cloud was not merely extraordinary; rather it...

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