At 6:59 am Wednesday, officials at Phnom Penh International Airport got the call. A hypothetical plane had veered off the runway after landing poorly, and the armed forces and emergency services had minutes to respond.
Cambodia’s second simulated airport emergency exercise took place at the airforce base opposite Phnom Penh International Airport and was organized by government agencies in conjunction with Societe Concessionnaire les Aeroports, the private company that runs the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, SCA’s communications and marketing manager Khek Norinda said Wednesday.
“This time we simulated the hard landing and the aircraft veering off the runway,” he wrote by e-mail, adding that the exercise is meant to improve the airport’s ability to respond to major crises, which has been an issue under scrutiny since the crash of a PMT aircraft in Kampot province in June.
“We are now going to analyze what went right and what has to be improved,” in terms of how government agencies coordinate with airport officials, how emergency procedures were announced and how well personnel recorded information in the field, Khek Norinda wrote.
Seng Vanny, director of administration for the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation, said the airport exercise set a good precedent for disaster response.
“Every group came on time,” he said.
Cabinet Minister Sok An, who spoke at the airport following the exercise, said that a few hundred personnel as well as six fire trucks and 20 ambulances had been dispatched from the airport and the municipality for the exercise.
“If there is no exercise, when something like this happens, our work won’t be as smooth as when he have prepared with this exercise,” he said.