In the interest of all passengers and our quest for complying with the standards set by the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), George Airport held its emergency exercise today.
"This is in line with ACSA's safety measures to test our state of readiness in case of a real emergency. George is the fourth airport in the ACSA network to conduct such an exercise over the past three months. These exercises will be rolled out at all ACSA airports throughout the course of the year," said Solomon Makgale, ACSA's communications manager.
ACSA, together with Garden Route Klein Karroo District Municipality GRKKDM and it's supportive local authorities planned, over the last 3 months, a simulated air disaster, to test the ability of the various emergency services teams to work together as a unified team during a crisis situation.
Exercise TomCat involved a simulated air disaster during which a "Fluffy" Flight PLA-001, with 100 passengers and crew on board, "crashes" at the airport, during an emergency landing after experiencing hydraulic problems.
Personnel from ACSA, Air Traffic Control, South African Airways, Nationwide, GRKKDM, SA Police Services, Municipal Fire &Rescue, Metro, Netcare, WC Paramedics, Provincial and Municipal Traffic Department, SA National Defence Force and Hospitals worked side by side to aid the "victims" and to clear the disaster scene.
In addition to the Fire & Rescue and medical aspects, the exercise includes the testing of communication channels, matching of passenger lists, handling of meeters and greeters as well as the next of kin.
The scene is realistic to the one we would have in case of an emergency. It includes foreign tour groups, signs and symptoms of injuries including moulage, actual fires and anxious meeters and greeters," Jenny Becker, George Airport General Manager, said.
In conclusion, Becker added, ACSA is committed to the safety of all airport users and the exercise is an on going process of preparing ourselves to handle a major air disaster.