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Volcano cloud: Europe's aerospace industry deeply involved in seeking a swift and safe resolution to flight disruption


22 Apr 2010


EU Priorities 2020

Brussels, 21 April 2010 – Several European aerospace companies have offered their assistance to public authorities to evaluate the impact of volcanic ash on aircraft systems and engines. ASD, the association representing the European aerospace and defence industries, is currently assessing the consequences of the volcano ash crisis on the aerospace industry’s activities in Europe.

François Gayet, Secretary-General of ASD, declared: ‘Our industry has been working in close cooperation with public authorities, airworthiness bodies and airlines. We have been involved in several test flights aimed at defining the right boundaries for safe flights, and we will continue offering full technical assistance to all the parties involved to guarantee the highest possible level of air safety.’

On Monday 19 April, industry conducted test flights during which the crew observed aircraft and engine behaviours in the ash cloud. A thorough aircraft and engine inspection was performed after the flight, the findings of which will be shared with airworthiness authorities and engine manufacturers. 

Since the beginning of the crisis, manufacturers’ technical experts have been participating in the evaluation work done by airworthiness bodies.

Commenting on the impact of the crisis on industry’s activities, François Gayet said: ‘Although it is too early to put figures on the impact that drastic airspace restrictions have had on our industry’s activities, it is clear that they have provoked major disruptions in the supply chain of several of our companies. Production may be affected if the situation does not get back to fully normal very soon.’ 

‘We are also very concerned about the losses in revenues incurred by airlines, airports and other sectors of the economy. For airlines in particular, this crisis comes at a very bad time as they were only slowly recovering from the effects of the recent economic downturn. We hope that their call for an adequate support response at European level will be heard by public authorities.’ 

The ‘volcano cloud crisis’ that closed much of Europe’s airspace for five days has revealed the fundamental importance of air transport in Europe. The disruption caused to hundreds of thousands of people and businesses has demonstrated the benefits generated by aviation, and come as a strong reminder that without air transport Europe’s economy (and society at large) cannot function smoothly. 

The air transport industry directly employs more than 1.6 million people in Europe and contributes €99.5 billion to GDP. 

For more information, please contact:

Alexandre Dossat (ASD PR & Communications Manager)  

Tel: +32 2 775 81 33 – Mobile: +32 493 09 79 87                   


ASD, AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe, represents the aeronautics, space, and defence industries in Europe. ASD has 28 member associations in 20 European countries, and represents over 2000 companies with a further 80 000 suppliers, many of which are SMEs. 

The European aeronautics, space and defence Industry at a glance:

Employment:                       around 676 000 in aerospace & defence

Industry Turnover:               over €137 billion.