Full-scale emergency exercise at Malta International Airport

Malta International Airport’s aircraft emergency exercise was carried out to test the level of preparedness of key stakeholders that would be mobilised in the event of a real-life accident at the airport.

Through this full-scale exercise, Malta International Airport tested the appropriateness of its recently amended Airport Emergency Response Plan (AERP), in line with the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) regulatory obligations. The exercise also served to determine the effectiveness of MIA’s command and control system for managing incidents and to test the communications systems and emergency resources in place.

The simulated accident scenario itself involved a B737-800 Medina Air aircraft travelling from Genoa with 74 passengers and 6 crew members on board. Whilst flying over Sicily, the crew reported major hydraulic problems to Air Traffic Control and a full emergency was declared, triggering the Emergency Response Plan. A hard landing at MLA caused the wheels to collapse and the aircraft to veer off the runway, eventually coming to a standstill on Taxiway Lima. As a result, a number of passengers suffered critical injuries and a number of fatalities were reported.

Following the declaration of an aircraft accident, the different entities were called on site to, amongst others, cordon off the accident area, start rescue and fire-fighting procedures, set up a collection area for injured and uninjured passengers and crew, and establish a decontamination area.

This exercise was organised by the team at Malta International Airport in collaboration with a number of key stakeholders including the Armed Forces of Malta, the Civil Protection Department, Mater Dei Hospital, the Malta Police and airline representatives. In addition, a group of actors and volunteers participated in this exercise in the role of affected passengers allowing first responders to practise important processes such as triage, treatment and transportation.

Malta International Airport carries out emergency exercises on different levels on a regular basis, in order to keep improving its Airport Emergency Response Plan and response capabilities.