Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport (HIA) marked the successful conclusion of this year’s emergency exercise, which has been dubbed ‘Delta Oryx 2017’. The emergency simulation consisted of a crash site in the sea adjacent to Hamad International Airport (HIA). The planned emergency simulation is an annual procedure at Qatar Airways, initiated as a means of testing emergency facilities, in addition to ensuring that our staff are well-prepared to handle and deal with the situation in the most effective manner.
Delta Oryx 2017 was the first HIA emergency exercise that placed focus on testing the airport’s preparedness for handling an aircraft accident outside of airport premises, simulating a crash landing into the sea. The scale, complexity and realism of the activity were carefully designed to bring to light any latent deficiency or gap in the emergency facilities at HIA and throughout Qatar.
With the coordination of more than 28 government agencies, stakeholders and partners, including Hamad International Airport, Qatar Coastguard, Internal Security Forces, Qatar Navy and the Qatar Emiri Air Force. ‘Delta Oryx 2017’ incorporated the use of a 30-seater mock aircraft, two Qatar Airways aircraft chutes, 170 volunteer passengers, 60 volunteer family members and friends, 39 dummies to display casualties, 40 ambulance response vehicles, three military helicopters, five airport safety and security vehicles and 10 Mowasalat buses.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are very proud of the success of ‘Delta Oryx 2017’. This year’s emergency simulation aimed to challenge our employees, who responded with the upmost professionalism and sense of duty, reflecting our high standards of safety and security at Qatar Airways. On behalf of Qatar Airways, I would like to thank all the government agencies, stakeholders, partners, specialised forces, volunteers and lastly our employees for coordinating and delivering this year’s complex, yet tremendously successful, simulated emergency exercise.”
The extensive scale and complexity of this year’s emergency simulation was carefully crafted to examine and test any weakness in the airline’s emergency facilities and Local Emergency Response Plan. The exercise also tested specialized forces’ arrangements for rescue at sea, including the Coastguard, Internal Security Forces, Qatar Navy and Qatar Emiri Air Force. The simulation seamlessly interfaced with HIA’s annual emergency exercise and Hamad Medical Corporation’s emergency exercise activating all public hospitals and selected primary health care facilities in Qatar.
Commenting on the HIA’s successful completion of the emergency exercise, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport, said: “We at HIA strive for excellence in everything we do, including our preparedness in a crisis, which is why this exercise, being HIA’s third full-scale exercise, simulated an aircraft incident at sea, not within the confines of the airport.
The HIA emergency exercises have grown to become joint national exercises involving all major ministries, government agencies and stakeholders. Delta Oryx 2017 is the product of many hours of planning, preparation and hard work from all our stakeholders and partners and I extend our sincere gratitude to them all.”
In accordance with the requirements established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), airports are required to hold an emergency exercise every two years to fulfill their licensing requirements. As an airport directly located beside the sea, HIA is also required by ICAO international regulations to ensure adequate emergency procedures are in place in the event that occupants are to be rescued from an aircraft that has crashed into the sea.
Qatar Airways’ emergency management program includes a Corporate Emergency Response Plan, an automated Crisis Management and Casualty Tracking System, a dedicated Group Emergency Control Centre, Group Emergency Management Team, Emergency Telephone Enquiry Centre, Special Assistance Centre, an Emergency Website, a Media Enquiry Centre, a Media Operations Centre and a Deployed Response Group that includes Special Assistance Team Members (Humanitarian Support Program). If activated, the Deployed Response Group would be dispatched to the emergency site using a dedicated relief aircraft to provide additional support to local staff, responding agencies and authorities on the ground.