Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Emergency ‘Exercise Burnout’

by Jill Brix, Principal Consultant, Avisure

Ballina Byron Gateway Airport (BBGA) is the heart of the Northern Rivers region of the far north coast of NSW, providing tourists, businesses, locals, movie stars and rock bands alike access to this special part of Australia.

The airport lies in the North Creek catchment which flows into the mighty Richmond River and into the Pacific Ocean. Managing the environment at the airport is, therefore, a high priority for Ballina Shire Council, BBGA’s owner and operator. The airport commissioned Jill Brix, Avisure’s Principal Consultant to assist BBGA’s Chief Operating Officer Kylie Hardy and Acting Airport Operations Supervisor Howard Ludgate, to facilitate a Table-top and Full-field exercise to practice a response to a large fuel spill on the regular public transport apron.

‘Exercise Burnout’ was created and the scope of the exercise extended to two casualties and a notional fire and terminal evacuation. Local ground handling agents, Aus Flight Handling and Oceania Aviation played the part of the notational airlines Bryon Air and Rainbow Airlines and a tractor was used to simulate an A320 on the bay adjacent to the spill in the Full-field exercise.

A great turnout by the local emergency response agents Exercise Burnout was deemed a success and it demonstrated that BBGA has a response team comprised of skilled professionals who demonstrate collegiality, collaboration, and cohesion to support the overall response to an incident at the airport.

Brian Job, Sky High Aviation refueling was awarded an acting award at the Emergency Committee meeting for providing realism into the exercise and making the ARFF work hard, having to revive him three times.