The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has placed its rescue team under re-training to further improve readiness during emergency situations, notably when a plane catches fire.
MIAA general manager Cesar Chiong said aside from the actual live-fire exercises, elements of the Rescue and Firefighting Division were also tested on different aircraft accident scenarios to check their competency and capability to react on emergency situations at the country’s premier airport.
“Training such as this is regularly conducted as prescribed under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines – Manual of Standards for Aerodromes, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards,” said Chiong.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) management said its rescue and firefighting capability was rated as Category 10 compliant or equipped to handle large passenger aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or the Airbus A380.
“Complemented with competent fire and rescue personnel, ten most modern firefighting vehicles, two sets of pneumatic aircraft lifting system, and other rescue equipment, the MIAA Rescue and Firefighting Division is well equipped to handle NAIA’s requirements and at par with its regional counterparts,” Chiong said.
NAIA complied with and acquired a complete sets of tools and machines to remove disabled aircraft.
But during a Senate hearing in 2018, Transportation department officials admitted that the MIAA “does not have a highly-telescopic crane” which was used in the case of a disabled Xiamen Air plane that overshot the main runway and paralyzed airport and airlines operations.
Airport and aviation personnel took 36 hours to remove the disabled plane of Xiamen Air.
An official of MIAA media affairs division said the crane used in removing the Xiamen aircraft in August 2018 incident was rented or leased by the authority from a private hotel nearby in the amount of P4 million.
The Canada-based ICAO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
In 2020, six Filipino members of a medical evacuation flight and two foreign passengers were killed when their West Wind 24-type aircraft operated by Lion Air caught fire and crashed while taking off at runway 624 of the NAIA.
The aircraft, registered as RP-C5880 and bound for Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan, was on a medical evacuation mission when the crash happened at around 8 p.m., three minutes after its scheduled departure.