Airport Business

FEB-MAR 2018

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A O A MATTERS 34 airportbusiness February/March 2018 By Charity Catalfomo Beyond the Regulations: Airport Emergency Planning No day is routine at an airport and operators must be adequately prepared to respond and recov- er if the symphony is interrupted. Major emergen- cies in this environment tend to be low frequency, high impact events with a heavy reliance on rapid response and continuity of operations. If an airport operator's response is poorly planned, even small incidents have the potential to have a major life safety and financial impact to the surrounding community, aircraft operators and the national airspace system. Ac c ord i ng t o t he Fe dera l Av i at ion Administration (FAA), airports may be classified as general aviation, small, medium or large hub commercial service, non-hub, primary or reliever. Even to a longtime airport professional, these terms may be confusing. To those outside the industry, it may be easier to simply categorize an airport as small, medium or large- sometimes, really large. Regardless of the classification of airports, it would be reasonable to assume the complexity and depth of emergency plans including the num- ber of resources available would be based on its size. This assumption though, is not necessarily true for all airports. For airport industry veterans, the adage "If you've seen one airport, you've seen one airport" is familiar. This phrase is intended to represent how distinctly different airports may actually operate from one another. Though airports share common goals of safety and efficiency in aircraft operation, how those goals are accomplished tend to be great- ly affected by the unique type of aircraft operations specific to that facility. The United States has an expansive aviation infrastructure system that is estimated to include over 20,000 airports, according to the FAA. Of these 20,000 facilities, roughly 500 are categorized as commercial service airports. Commercial ser- vice airports, according to the FAA are publicly owned facilities that have at least 2,500 passen- ger boardings each calendar year and receive scheduled passenger service. Commercial ser- vice airports are held to the most comprehensive level of standards for emergency planning and response by the FAA, requiring an FAA-approved airport emergency plan, yearly tabletop exercise of the plan and a full scale emergency exercise once every three years. What about the other 19,500 airports in the U.S.? These facilities, made up of general avia- tion, cargo or corporate aircraft operations may be required to have an FAA approved emergency plan but do not necessarily rise to the level of compli- ance of a commercial service airport. A commercial service airport with 50,000 aircraft operations a year may be required by the FAA to have more stringent emergency plans, response guidelines and more resources than a general aviation airport with 250,000 aircraft operations a year. Read more: www.AviationPros.com/ 12392732 A irports in many ways operate much like a small city. Infrastructure and resources must be in place to support the safe and efficient movement of aircraft, people, cargo and fuel, and all of them must work together as a symphony. As conductors of that symphony, airport operators are tasked with ensuring safety, security and business continuity in a dynamic operating environment. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charity is the Safety and Security Manager at one of the naƟon's busiest primary non-hub airports. Charity is responsible for emergency planning and works closely with fire, law enforcement, airport operaƟons, local and federal agencies. Her background includes airfield operaƟons and maintenance at a large hub airport and a Master's degree in Emergency Management. Charity Catalfomo Tim Burke

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