During a normal day at any European airport, the terminal and runways operate as usual. But something unexpected can happen any time.
Euronews visited Naples Airport in Italy where the duty manager launched an emergency drill triggering the immediate involvement of the fire brigade.
All airport workers have trained to prepare for the unexpected.
Just like in a real emergency, time is of the essence.
“I would say that timely communication is key in emergencies,” Alessandro Fidato, Accountable Manager, Naples Airport told Euronews.
As the situation developed, the communication network, comprising of various airport services, was set in motion.
“Coordination between the different departments is essential if we are to manage all the steps that need to be taken, both internally and externally,” explains Fidato. “I am referring to state entities, airport authorities, private operators, airlines, Companies that work with the airport.”
Interconnectivity is one of the pillars of air transport. The impact of an unforeseen event has repercussions far beyond the place where it originated.
Passengers usually suffer the consequences. So in 2010 the European Commission and Eurocontrol set up the The European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC).
“If a crisis or disruption escalates,becomes a real crisis, the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell is activated to coordinate the European aviation response both politically, as well as nationally and internationally,” said Kenneth Thomas, Head of Unit, Eurocontrol/Network Manager.
Air traffic control authorities across Europe are coordinated at the Eurocontrol centre in Brussels.
Being ready to deal with a crisis is crucial.
“In February of 2016, the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell trained 70 people for two days,” Thomas told Euronews. “It was a simulation of a terror attack on a European airport.
Seven weeks later, Brussels Airport was attacked. The European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell quickly sprung into action so the effect on European aviation could be minimised.”
After the exercise, the operations at our European airport returned to normal.
Airport workers know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. Something that should give air passengers a lot more confidence and peace of mind.