No. of :

No. of Shares:

Currently viewed by: Marcus Rosit

Tacloban Airport's flight to safety takes off

The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport (DZR) in Tacloban City took a significant step towards ensuring the safety and preparedness of its passengers and personnel in the face of potential emergencies through a full-scale emergency exercise on Feb. 28, 2024.

The drill simulates a realistic emergency scenario to evaluate the coordination and effectiveness of emergency plans and procedures at the airport.

It aims to fortify its defenses against unforeseen challenges, ensuring swift and efficient responses when seconds count the most, along with a seamless transition of airport operations to minimize negative impacts.

During a full-scale emergency exercise on Feb. 28, 2024, a simulated aircraft operated by Kataisan Airlines suffered a severe combustion incident, resulting in deaths and injured passengers. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) quickly responded and successfully extinguished the resulting fire. (Photo courtesy of Civil Defense Eastern Visayas)
Building up standards

Adhering to international standards, specifically those established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is the foundation of this effort. Tacloban Airport is committed to aligning with ICAO guidelines to maintain the highest levels of emergency preparedness, strengthening its ability to withstand adversity.

Based on the regulatory requirements mentioned in ICAO Document 9137, Part 7 and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Standards Manual, a full-scale emergency exercise is necessary for airport certification. Such activities are mandatory every two years, determining an airport's preparedness to handle crises efficiently.

Collaboration with partners

The CAAP in Eastern Visayas organized the drill to enhance communication and coordination among different response teams, including medical, rescue, firefighting, security, and communication sectors. 

Through this collaboration and partnership, it will not only enhance safety protocols but also foster a culture of resilience and preparedness within the community.

The victims are being treated with medical attention during the full-scale emergency exercise on February 28, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Civil Defense Eastern Visayas)
Some of the injured victims were transported in the ambulance as part of the drill. (Photo courtesy of Civil Defense Eastern Visayas)
The actual drill

According to Asher Ithamar B. Allunar, acting airport manager, the Tacloban airport emergency plan has 20 scenarios. However, the full-scale emergency exercise will address the DZR airport's readiness for airborne emergencies and crash landings with fire emergency conditions (EMCON).

A crash-landing incident was simulated at DZR airport. It involved an Airbus 321 from Kataisan Airlines Flight 1234 flying from Manila to Tacloban with 200 passengers onboard. The aircraft swerved to the right during landing and collided with the waterway canal. The aft portion of the aircraft caught fire and was engulfed in flames.

Allunar added that this exercise has been done at several international airports in the country. This is the first time a domestic airport such as DZR Airport has conducted a full-scale emergency exercise.

Usec. Mark Gimenez of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) for Visayas was present during the drill and praised the CAAP and the Tacloban DZR Airport for successfully executing the full-scale emergency exercises.

Hernando M. Caraig Jr., Assistant Secretary and Deputy Administrator for Operations of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), expressed his intention to implement the same initiative in different regions, as this is the first full-scale emergency exercise at the regional level outside Metro Manila.

As the passengers and the public observe the simulated emergency response, they are reminded that a team of dedicated professionals is always working towards ensuring their safety and well-being.

The inaugural full-scale emergency exercise marks a new beginning for the airport, as it sets a precedent for excellence in emergency preparedness. This move towards safety will have a far-reaching impact and inspire many beyond the airport's shores. (AAC, PIA Leyte)

About the Author

Aaron Cotejar

Information Officer

Region 8

Feedback / Comment

Get in touch