Upington International Airport has held an emergency aircraft crash simulation today as part of its continuing efforts to remain prepared for any eventuality. Emergency simulations are required to ensure that the airport remains compliant with international aviation safety protocols. The International Civil Organisation (ICAO) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) require a full-scale emergency exercise every two years to test the state of emergency preparedness of all stakeholders that work with the airport authority.
According to a statement by Upington International Airport, the crisis simulation started at 9:30 and involved a “terrorist attack” and an aircraft “crash” a few hundred metres from the runway. The “accident” scene was attended by Upington International Airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) team, the SAPS and emergency services from the Upington municipality.
Present at Upington International Airport’s Emergency Control Centre were its disaster management team and heads of all responding disciplines, including fire, traffic, EMS, SAPS and airline staff.
“The emergency simulation was designed to test not only readiness but also the ability of all emergency services to adapt to a fast-changing situation,” said Senzeni Ndebele, Senior Manager Corporate Affairs for regional airports at Airports Company South Africa.
“During the exercise a number of sudden changes were introduced to simulate the confusion that typically accompanies any major emergency. Our emergency management team is satisfied with the ability of emergency services to cope in such conditions,” she said.
“Details of the incident were not shared in advance in order to provide the most realistic environment for first responders and emergency staff,” Ndebele added.
“It is essential that we test our state of readiness as an airport, as well as the levels of coordination among all additional resources that respond from Upington municipality. We are proud of Upington International Airport for excelling at this test. This kind of exercise also provides passengers with assurance and confidence that the airport is always trained and prepared for emergencies,” said Ndebele.