The VOLCEX18 Debrief, VOLCEX19 Planning and VOLCEX/SG/14 Meetings were held in Napoli, Italy from 15 to 17 January 2019. The meetings were attended by a total of 44 participants from 16 States, 1 Airline, 1 University and 5 International Organizations. The objectives of the meetings were to develop recommendations from the volcanic ash exercise conducted on 28 November 2018 called VOLCEX18 and to consider these recommendations in the objectives of the volcanic ash exercise that will be conducted on 20 November 2019 called VOLCEX19.
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The main issue identified in VOLCEX18 was that some national procedures were not in accordance to the Volcanic Ash Contingency Plan for the EUR/NAT Regions. However, many States are updating their procedures accordingly which will further harmonize the Safety Risk Assessment approach in the EUR/NAT Regions. Conformance to the Volcanic Ash Contingency Plan in the EUR/NAT Regions will reduce the number of Danger Areas and unnecessary NOTAMs while improving the issuance of SIGMET particularly providing harmonization at the Flight Information Region boundaries and improve reporting and dissemination of special air-reports on volcanic ash. Routinely conducting volcanic ash exercises is essential because stakeholders continue to improve their readiness for a real volcanic ash event.