Full-Scale Exercise Tests Emergency Response at Tucson International Airport

On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) and its team completed a live emergency exercise simulating an aircraft emergency.

The purpose of the exercise is to give the airport, mutual aid partners and emergency responders the opportunity to train for a real aircraft emergency in a safe and controlled environment. This live exercise is conducted in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. The emergency exercise, which is mandated by the FAA to occur every three years, simulates an aircraft incident that tests the Airport Emergency Plan.

The FAA Federal Aviation Regulations Part 139 requires all certificated airports create, maintain, and update an emergency plan. This plan is then tested during the required triennial exercise. This full-scale exercise evaluates the operational capability of the TAA emergency management system in a stress environment with actual deployment of emergency aid to demonstrate coordination and response capability with mutual aid partners.

The exercise took place on a remote part of the airfield at Tucson International Airport (TUS) and did not impact operations.

The exercise allows for hands-on experience for first responders from Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department (TAAFD) and Tucson Airport Authority Police Department (TAAPD), as well as mutual aid partners throughout the region.

“As certificated operator of TUS, the TAA is proud of the track record it holds of maintaining a safe airfield for all users,” said TAA President and CEO Danette Bewley. “We pride ourselves on being ready for any incident that may occur 24/7/365. Training opportunities like this ensures that both our own team and the outside agencies we call on in times of crisis are collaborating efficiently and effectively. Minutes matter in an emergency.”

The TAA appreciates the partnership with the following organizations and for their participation in the exercise: American Red Cross, Arizona Air National Guard, Pima County Office of Emergency Management, Southwest Airlines, Transportation Security Administration, and Tucson Fire Department.

Photos provided courtesy of Tucson Airport Authority for news coverage can be found here.