Nelson Airport exercise planned to ensure crews equipped to handle emergencies

2:38 pm on 24 November 2023
An Air New Zealand turboprop plane prepares for takeoff from Nelson Airport.

An Air New Zealand plane prepares for takeoff at Nelson Airport. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

An aircraft crash simulation exercise with live fire and smoke will be held at Nelson Airport this weekend.

Nelson Airport senior rescue fire officer Matt van der Heyden said the airport was required to conduct a comprehensive emergency exercise every two years under Civil Aviation Authority rules.

"The exercise is a chance to test our response efforts, emergency plans, procedures, equipment and communication systems.

"Fortunately, events such as the one we're practising for are extremely rare, but that makes simulations such as this even more important to ensure we are prepared to respond should the need ever arise."

Up to 100 emergency service personnel and volunteers from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, police and Hato Hone St John will be involved in the simulation on Saturday, between 10.30am and 2pm.

The exercise will involve live fire and smoke that had been carefully planned so it did not cause concern.

Van der Heyden said the area would be busy with emergency vehicles and the public were asked to refrain from creating congestion by coming to watch.

The airport will remain fully operational, with no disruption to normal services or activities.

Air NZ Q300 landing Nelson Airport, from where the company is shifting its heavy maintenance base.

An Air New Zealand Q300 lands at Nelson Airport. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

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