As a mandate of the European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG) Programme Coordinating Group (COG) and North Atlantic (NAT) Implementation Management Group (IMG), Volcanic Ash Exercises Steering Group (VOLCEX/SG) for the EUR and NAT Regions was established to initiate and maintain a programme of regular volcanic ash exercises in the EUR/NAT Regions. One of the main goals of these exercises is to test the Volcanic Ash Contingency Plan (VACP) for the EUR and NAT Regions (EUR Doc 019, NAT Doc 006, Part II) which was recently merged (July 2016). Typically, one exercise called VOLCEX is planned and conducted by VOLCEX/SG each year.
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VOLCEX17 simulated a volcano eruption in the Azores in Portugal which produced a simulated volcanic ash cloud that impacted the Mediterranean States as well as a large part of continental Europe, United Kingdom and portions of the Middle East. A total of 33 airline operators, IATA, AOCCC (Aircraft Operator Crisis Coordination Cell), EACCC (European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell), Network Manager (NM), 14 Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), 12 Meteorological Watch Offices (MWOs), 8 NOTAM Offices, 11 Regulators, Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) Toulouse and VAAC London (backup) and 8 other organizations participated in the Exercise.
The recent meeting of VOLCEX 17 was held in January 2018 in Lisbon, to make recommendations on the VOLCEX17 Exercise that took place from 29 to 30 November 2017. These recommendations can be found in the summary of discussions on the ICAO Portal under group name VOLCEXSG and folder 'VOLCEX17 dbr VOLCEX18 plan'.