Laguindingan Airport conducts major emergency drill

Laguindingan Airport temporarily suspended flight operations on Tuesday to facilitate a large-scale emergency exercise, underscoring the importance of coordinated response efforts among various agencies.

The full-scale drill simulated an aircraft crashing and catching fire after landing, with rescue personnel responding to the mock scenario involving injured passengers trapped inside the wreckage.

Approximately 36 organizations participated, including the Office of Civil Defense, local disaster risk reduction offices, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Department of Health, and others. The Philippine Air Force, Coast Guard, airlines and hospitals also joined the multiagency operation.

“Today’s aircraft emergency full-scale exercise at Laguindingan Airport has demonstrated our preparedness and taken a crucial step in ensuring that we are fully equipped to handle emergencies in our current situation. It is important to emphasize that the impact of this exercise on our ability to rescue everyone cannot be overstated,” said Job De Jesus, Area Manager X for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The exercise began with the pilot declaring an emergency due to loss of vertical control, followed by the airport’s emergency operations center being activated upon the simulated crash landing. Responding teams then had to promptly suppress the fire, evacuate passengers and provide medical treatment.

Airport operations were halted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time to facilitate the drill.

Due to an early notice to airmen issued this month, airlines were able to adjust flight schedules in advance. Only two flights were affected during the temporary suspension of airport operations.

Such drills allow airports to evaluate their incident response plans and identify areas for improvement. By involving multiple stakeholders, the exercise enhanced coordination among the various agencies that would jointly respond to a real aviation emergency.

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