Full-scale emergency exercise to be conducted at main int'l airport

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has said a full-scale emergency exercise would be conducted at Velana International Airport (VIA) on Wednesday. Over 400 people will be taking part in the exercise conducted in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

MACL said the exercise is required to be held every two years by Maldives Civil Aviation Authority (MCAA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In this regard, as the operator of VIA, MACL is tasked with ensuring that the airport meets MCAA and ICAO's safety standards in operating aircraft from the aerodrome.

As per MACL, the purpose of the full-scale emergency exercise is to test the emergency plans and standard operating procedures to be followed in emergencies and test the emergency planes of the airlines participating in the exercise. It will also assess the coordination level between MACL's departments, government authorities, and other relevant institutions. The exercise also allows the opportunity to evaluate the casualty management capacity of healthcare service providers and emergency assistance providers and the response of MACL's Media Management team and Fire and Rescue Services.

MACL said that in addition to the airport's different departments, 30 institutions, including healthcare service providers, will participate in the exercise. The emergency plans of all participating institutions will be activated during the exercise.

The international airline, Emirates, will participate in the exercise as the official airline. The airline will execute its safety operation plan during the exercise and work alongside the airport's emergency services. This is the first time an international airline will participate in such an exercise carried out in the Maldives.

MACL said the final preparations for the exercise are now in place, and all briefings and training have been provided to participants. This includes special training given to health care professionals and training given to defense forces and volunteers.

While several airport development projects are ongoing at VIA, new areas that are now in operation will also be tested during the drill, including the Code-F runway, which is temporarily being used as a taxiway.

The exercise will be carried out from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Wednesday evening. The runway will be closed between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm. However, check-in services for international flights and seaplane operations will continue without interruption, said MACL.