ICAO EUR/NAT coordinates volcanic ash exercise in Kamchatka: Moscow (Russian Federation), 16 January 2013

Moscow (Russian Federation), 16 January 2013
Spanning multiple time zones, the aviation community came together to exercise a volcanic eruption in Kamchatka, Russian Federation from 2100 UTC on 15 January 2013 to 060 UTC on 16 January 2013 under the guise of ICAO. The objectives of the exercise were to test information flow of volcanic ash products which involved the volcano observatory in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russian Federation (called KVERT), Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) Tokyo, Meteorological Watch Offices, and International NOTAM Offices. The information provided allowed coordination by area control centres, national air traffic management centres, airlines and operators to review changes to simulated flight plans and coordinate adjusted air routes to avoid volcanic ash.

The Exercise proved successful in that volcanic ash information provided to stakeholders allowed for collaborative decision making in selecting the most appropriate simulated reroutes. Some westbound flights from North America to Asia were rerouted to the north and west of the volcanic ash cloud in the Magadan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Khabarovsk Flight Information Regions (FIR). One re-route request from a northern Pacific (NOPAC) route to a Russian Transeast route via Fukuoka /Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky FIRs had to be modified due to the lack of direct communications and the lack of a letter of agreement between these area control centres. A revised re-route was offered and accepted by the airline via Sapporo and Khabarovsk FIRs. Some east bound flights from Asia to North America took advantage of temporary eastbound tracks created by Fukuoka Air Traffic Management Center to traverse the north Pacific south and east of the volcanic ash cloud.


Two teleconferences were held by the Exercise Leader of VOLKAM13, with the assistance of Eurocontrol. The teleconferences were conducted to share information and resolve outstanding issues such as proposed simulated reroutes deemed challenging (e.g. some adjacent FIRs do not have direct communications).


Stakeholders will be submitting reports of Exercise findings in the coming weeks in order for the VOLKAM13 debrief meeting (19 February 2013, Paris) to develop lessons learned and recommendations. The recommendations may be tested in future volcanic ash exercises.


ICAO extends its appreciation to all VOLKAM13 participants and extends a special thank you to the lead, the Russian Federation, for conducting this exercise in order to improve safety and efficiency in a volcanic ash event in the north western Pacific.


Participants of VOLKAM13


Volcano observatories : KVERT ( Russian Federation), Alaska Volcano Observatory


Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers : Tokyo, Anchorage, Washington


National Air Traffic Management Centres : Main Air Traffic Management Center Moscow, Fukuoka Air Traffic Management Center, US Air Traffic Control System Command Center


Area Control Centers : Anchorage ARTCC, Fukuoka ATMC Oceanic, Khabarovsk, Magadan, Oakland Center (TMO), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Sapporo


Regulatory : Federal Air Transport Agency and Roshydromet of Russia, Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)


International NOTAM Offices : Moscow, Japan, FAA US NOTAM Office


Meteorological Watch Offices : Yelizovo Airodrome MET Center, Office of Aviation Weather Forecast Japan Meteorological Agency for Fukuoka FIR, Anchorage, Anchorage Centre Weather Service Unit


Airlines : All Nippon Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Delta Airlines, Japan Airlines, United Airlines, UPS, IATA


International Organizations : Eurocontrol, ICAO

(see full size picture)

Preparation for VOLKAM13 at the Main Air Traffic Management Center in Moscow. From left to right:


Petr Inozemtsev (Rosgidromet), Konstantin Varfolomeyev (MATMC), Yuliya Naryshkina (Rosgidromet), Elena Glukhovskaya (FATA), Christopher Keohan (ICAO), Alexey Buevich (Exercise Leader – MATMC), Dmitry Kosolapov (IATA), Vladimir Synnikov (MATMC), Galina Kotova (Russian AIS), Igor Arestov (State ATM Corporation)

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