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MIAA holds full-scale exercise to enhance airport security

MIAA holds full-scale exercise

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Bryan Co announced that in partnership with the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Unit (PNP-AVSEU), a Full-Scale Security Exercise (FSSE 2023) was conducted on Tuesday to enhance measures against occurrences that pose a significant threat not only to aircraft but also to passengers and other airport users.

Co said a comprehensive event aimed at evaluating and strengthening the airport’s response to unlawful interference emergencies was used as scenario,, with no flight disruptions, and NAIA operations proceeding without hindrance during the exercise which was conducted in compliance with Annex 17 of the International Civil Aviation Organization – Standards and Recommended Practices (ICAO-SARPS).

Airport operators are encouraged to regularly conduct emergency exercises to assess the effectiveness of their contingency plans and review established procedures outlined in their Airport Emergency Plans (AEP). This ensures the plans can be updated to mitigate potential risks adequately. Furthermore, the biennial security crisis exercises carried out by airport operators fulfill the requirements of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP), which serves as the authoritative source for security policies, rules, and regulations in Philippine civil aviation.

Co said this year’s FSSE simulated emergency Plan No. 8 (AIRPORT BOMBING OR EXPLOSION) and emergency Plan No. 9 (ACTIVE SHOOTING OR SIMILAR INCIDENTS) outlined in the MIAA Airport Emergency Plan. The exercise focused on an active shooting incident that may escalate into a bombing situation, resulting in multiple casualties and injuries to airport users. The exercise was conducted at the departure check-in hall of NAIA Terminal 2.

In accordance with Sec. 35 (b) of Republic Act 6975, which established the PNP Aviation Security Unit, the PNP led this year’s exercise. Their mandate includes protecting airports in the country from offensive and terroristic acts that threaten civil aviation.

The MIAA Airport Police Department acted as the secondary responder, while other security and non-security units within NAIA supported both the PNP and MIAA. The primary objective of the exercise is to restore airport operations promptly.

Compared to the previous FSSE conducted in 2021, which focused on a disgruntled employee armed with an improvised explosive device (IED), this year’s exercise featured an increased number of mock suspects. The realistic scenario challenged response teams to effectively handle a dangerous situation within the Terminal’s configuration.

“Following the successful staging of the Crash Rescue Exercise (CREX 2023) last August, we are committed to continually enhancing our capabilities and contingency plans to adapt to the evolving nature of airport incidents,” Co said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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