Hong Kong International Airport Conducts Comprehensive Typhoon Exercise
(HONG KONG, 20 April 2012) – In anticipation of the coming typhoon season, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) staged a comprehensive annual exercise early this morning involving more than 700 participants from over 20 organisations and government departments. The exercise simulated various weather-related contingency scenarios to test the airport's response capabilities in crowd management, baggage handling, flight rescheduling and information dissemination.
CK Ng, Executive Director, Airport Operations, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), said, "During times of inclement weather, airport operations will inevitably be affected. However, we can minimise the impact by thoroughly preparing not just ourselves, but also the airport community. Out of the 80-plus seminars, drills and exercises we conduct each year, 12 of them are directly related to weather preparedness. These scenarios allow the airport personnel to put their training into action.
"Through these drills, we are also able to enhance cooperation and communication among AAHK, airlines, ground handling agents, government organisations and business partners. This is of utmost importance for maintaining a safe and secure airport, and for enhancing HKIA's world-class passenger services," Mr Ng added.
The multi-scenario exercise began at about midnight when the airport community was informed of the approach of a fictional typhoon. A meteorological officer from the Hong Kong Observatory gave a weather update for the airport community on the typhoon as well as possible weather implications. The Airport Emergency Centre (AEC) was then activated to help coordinate flight changes and contingency plans for airlines, ramp handlers, public transport operators, catering outlets, retail shops and other potentially affected businesses. Typhoon information update was displayed in the Flight Information Display System to alert passengers of possible flight disruption. A preliminary assessment of the number of potentially affected flights was also made to facilitate early planning of resources and logistics for post-typhoon arrangements.
As the situation worsened within the scenario, more flights and passengers were affected. The Hong Kong Observatory issued a number-8 typhoon signal about an hour into the 4-hour long exercise, when the AEC immediately swung into full action. In the meantime, airlines actively rescheduled their flights, while AAHK and the Civil Aviation Department worked closely with them to coordinate the revised scheduling.
At the passenger terminals, AAHK, police, airport security staff, airlines and ground handling agents jointly activated their crowd management contingency plans to provide assistance to passengers. Constant updates on the latest typhoon situation and flight information, airline hotlines, public transportation condition and more were provided. Designated areas were set up for affected passengers to reconfirm their bookings. Additional signage was placed and public announcements were made throughout the passenger terminal building. Furthermore, St. John first-aiders were also deployed within the terminal building to offer assistance to passengers in case of medical emergencies. The exercise stood down at 0400 hrs.
The following organisations took part in the exercise by playing roles as affected passengers in both the restricted and non-restricted areas of the passenger terminal building:
- Agency for Volunteer Services
- City University of Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps
- Hong Kong Adventure Corps
- HKSKH Tung Chung Integrated Services
- Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education
Active participants in the drill included:
- Airport Authority Hong Kong
- Airline Operators Committee (AOC)
- Asia Airfreight Terminal
- Aviation Security Company Ltd
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Civil Aviation Department – Air Traffic Management Division
- Hong Kong Airlines
- Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited
- Hong Kong Airport Services Limited
- Hong Kong Express
- Hong Kong Observatory
- Hong Kong Police (Airport District)
- Jardine Air Terminal Services
- Jardine Airport Services Limited
- MTR Corporation – AEL
- Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited
- St. John Ambulance
- United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS)
- Worldwide Flight Services
The Airport Emergency Centre is activated to help coordinate flight changes and contingency plans for airlines, ramp handlers, public transport operators, catering outlets, retail shops and other potentially affected business.
At the passenger terminals, AAHK, airlines, ground handling agents and other parties jointly activates the crowd management contingency plans to provide assistance to passengers.
More staff members are deployed to handle the increasing number of check-in bags.
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