With a view to examine the prudence and efficacy ofthe emergency response plan to cope with an aircraft emergency, MumbaiInternational Airport Limited (GVK MIAL) conducted a Full-Scale AerodromeEmergency Exercise – ‘Operation Black Panther’ at the Chhatrapati ShivajiInternational Airport (GVK CSIA) in Mumbai, between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm on9th March, 2017. In a first-of-its-kind exercise held jointly with Hong-Kongbased Cathay Pacific airline, a simulated aircraft disaster was enacted as a partof the mock drill.

The four - hour long exercise helped in assessing and evaluating thepreparedness of all response teams involved in the drill including stakeholdersat CSIA involved in handling aircraft emergency situations. This exerciseprovided an opportunity to response teams from CSIA’s various safety units,including Fire & Emergency services, Terminals, Airside Operations, Engineering& Maintenance, Security and Medical services, to put their emergency trainingand skills to test. The mock drill also helped to measure the preparedness oflocal emergency response units that assist MIAL during a crisis.

Around 8 major hospitals that included Leelavati, Nanavati, Seven Hills,Kokilaben Ambani, 16 Ambulance services and Government organizations suchas Immigration, Customs, CISF, Police and State Disaster Management Cellparticipated in the drill. To add a sense of reality to the exercise, over 800volunteers acted as meeters/greeters, injured passengers and flight crew.

A mock drill like this encompassed all aspects of an emergency response andwas an opportunity to test the preparedness, in real time situations, of agenciesincluding fire fighting, security, medical services and communication, inovercoming the moments of distress.

The initiative was successfully implemented with full cooperation fromimportant stakeholders such as DGCA, CISF, Customs, Immigration, Air TrafficControl, Mumbai Fire Brigade, Local Police, Airlines, Ground Handling agencies,Hospital Authorities and the State Disaster Management Authority. Thisexercise reiterated Mumbai airport’s commitment towards passenger safety, anaspect that cannot be compromised on under any circumstance.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) andDirectorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulations, it is mandatory for allairports and airlines globally to hold this kind of exercise once every two years.