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Small fire tenders at Bequia airport meet required standard – Official

Small fire tenders at Bequia airport meet required standard – Official

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The fire tenders located at the J.F Mitchell airport in Bequia are of a standard in keeping with the category airport and meet the needs of the aircraft operating there.{{more}}

Corsel Robertson, Director of Airports confirmed this after questions were raised about the adequacy of two small fire tenders which were deployed at that airport.

“They have foam capabilities, as this is a requirement in aviation,” she said.

“We would never have made a decision to have operations not meeting the category,” Robertson said.

The Director explained that it was a requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for airports to meet risk categories in terms of fire protection.

“We cannot allow an aircraft to go into an airport if it does not meet these international requirements,” she said.

The category of an airport depends on aircraft operation Robertson explained.

“So when that truck is not working and you bring in other equipment to use, some people – lay men who do not know the requirements may conclude that they do not meet the requirements and this is the case,” she said.

The new vehicles meet the required standard Robertson confirmed.

She further explained that once she was informed that the capacity does not meet the category then she has two options, one to either publish the airport at a lower category or to stop operations altogether.

“And you know of times when the airport was shut down,” the airport director said.

She did however say that in an effort to beef up the fire service, not just at airports but in the state, fire and police services were working on the procurement of a fire tender.

“Because we prefer to get another truck that is a little above the capacity; we never go below, going below is illegal,” she said.

“So it has been recognized and remedies are being put in place; we are just waiting the funding,” Robertson told SEARCHLIGHT.

Once the new tender arrives, it is anticipated that the two in use at Bequia will be put to use in a community.

“We are living in challenging times and we do our best but the safety of life is of paramount importance for us in aviation and at the Ministry of National Security,” Robertson said. (DD)

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