10 May 2018
More firefighters have been recruited, the stunning terminal will be completed shortly and the new fire station is ready to receive its freshly-ordered fleet of vehicles.
The following day, at Ben Gurion, the airport management team hosted visitors from Africa, the US and Europe to witness a blue-ribbon example of an emergency response drill. With passenger growth at 18% last year the airport needs to be future-proofed for any emergency situation it might face. Over 1000 personnel took part in the exercise involving a 747 fire, casualty recovery and passenger evacuation. This included 200 actors and a full turn out by the airport security staff (2400 on the payroll for this department alone), local fire and rescue, the police, ambulance and military. There was commentary throughout the drill (translated by headset) and two big display screens feeding live footage from camera crews and a drone. It was an outstanding display of perfect planning and expert execution. We were then shown their cutting edge technology in FOD management, bird control (hugely important given Israel’s location for migratory birds) and a highly-immersive driver training VR system.
The Israeli Aviation Authority are an outstanding example of innovation, expertise and ambition. Everywhere you look there is change, investment and relentless self-scrutiny to ensure they deliver a safe travelling experience for all passengers. Hugely impressive. Well done to everyone involved.