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Aviation rescue and firefighting services

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Aviation rescue and firefighting services

Old 8th Jun 2024, 08:03
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Aviation rescue and firefighting services

Anyone aware of the remission factor for aviation rescue and firefighting services? AusALPA says "international airports in Australia have been consistently providing ARFFS of two or more categories lower than required by the largest aircraft operating into these airports and mandated by ICAO".

I've seen some NOTAMs showing the ARFFS category dropping but it only seems to be during curfew hours, or when there is reduced air traffic (like Covid). AusALPA's safety briefing (attached) is suggesting that an A380-800 (a category 10 aircraft) could be taking off/landing while there are only resources available for category 8 aircraft. Has anyone come across this in their paperwork? Is anyone aware of reduced capacity on a permanent basis?

I believe the so-called remission factor refers to the number of firefighters, agent and water available on site. I've been doing some digging and can see there's a Aviation White Paper coming out later this month. I wonder if this will be included in that body of work.
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Old 9th Jun 2024, 01:45
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Originally Posted by aviationflyer16
I've seen some NOTAMs showing the ARFFS category dropping but it only seems to be during curfew hours, or when there is reduced air traffic (like Covid). AusALPA's safety briefing (attached) is suggesting that an A380-800 (a category 10 aircraft) could be taking off/landing while there are only resources available for category 8 aircraft. Has anyone come across this in their paperwork? Is anyone aware of reduced capacity on a permanent basis?
ICAO Annex 14 allows a temporary downgrade two categories below the aircraft RFFS category for departure and destination aerodromes. "Temporary" is defined as a period of time not exceeding 72 hours.

ICAO Annex 14 also allows the RFFS category to be one category below that required for the highest category aircraft where the number of movements of aircraft in the highest category is less than 700 in the busiest consecutive three month period. ERSA currently shows the only Category 10 airport in Australia is SYD. Other capital city airports that have scheduled A380 flights (BNE, MEL, PER) are Category 9.

Last edited by BuzzBox; 9th Jun 2024 at 03:03.
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Old 9th Jun 2024, 06:42
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This is interesting. I suppose the question should be whether the reduction has become normalised? Anyone got some NOTAMs to share that reflect this? Keen to learn a little bit more about this.
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Old 9th Jun 2024, 10:09
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How common is this?

Originally Posted by BuzzBox
ICAO Annex 14 allows a temporary downgrade two categories below the aircraft RFFS category for departure and destination aerodromes. "Temporary" is defined as a period of time not exceeding 72 hours.

ICAO Annex 14 also allows the RFFS category to be one category below that required for the highest category aircraft where the number of movements of aircraft in the highest category is less than 700 in the busiest consecutive three month period. ERSA currently shows the only Category 10 airport in Australia is SYD. Other capital city airports that have scheduled A380 flights (BNE, MEL, PER) are Category 9.
So just because BNE, MEL, PER can operate one or two categories below what's required. How do pilots feel about whether they actually should? This seems like something that occurred during the pandemic and hasn't resumed since?
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Old 11th Jun 2024, 03:27
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Originally Posted by aviationflyer16
This is interesting. I suppose the question should be whether the reduction has become normalised? Anyone got some NOTAMs to share that reflect this? Keen to learn a little bit more about this.
NOTAMS may have been issued at the time the airports were downgraded from Category 10 to Category 9, but the reduced category is now published in the En-Route Supplement Australia (ERSA), suggesting the changes are more or less 'permanent'. BNE and PER were downgraded following a Senate Inquiry in 2019, before the pandemic. They were downgraded because AirServices could not guarantee Category 10 cover if a fire vehicle had already been called to a 'domestic' incident (eg a terminal fire). I don't know the background or timing of the downgrade at MEL; the ASA website still shows MEL as Category 10, but ERSA shows Category 9 (see below, under Rescue and Firefighting Services):
ERSA (FAC) - BNE
ERSA (FAC) - MEL
ERSA (FAC) - PER

More info on the 2019 Senate inquiry is available here:
The provision of rescue, firefighting and emergency response at Australian airports
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Old 11th Jun 2024, 11:06
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The domestic call-outs are typically first aid calls. In trying to justify their existence, ARFF became de-facto paramedics.

Major airports such as but not limited to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney should have an ambulance service located at the airport, funded by the airport.

ARFF also offer a service (for a fee) to monitor fire alarms, on airport and also off-airport.
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Old 11th Jun 2024, 12:44
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Is this related to the mandatory RFFS 4 or greater requirement for Australian operators outside Australia but not on Australian territory for EDTO Alternates?

The requirement was going to be implemented domestically several times over the years but keeps getting pushed.
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Old 11th Jun 2024, 23:33
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Originally Posted by compressor stall
Is this related to the mandatory RFFS 4 or greater requirement for Australian operators outside Australia but not on Australian territory for EDTO Alternates?
Related in the sense that nobody's willing to provide the $$$ and other resources to bring Australia's ARFFS up to international standards...
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Old 12th Jun 2024, 00:48
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Given that aircraft do not necessarily crash on an airport, I would have thought utilising the local State RFFS, with a permanent station at the airport, would have made more sense.
The fire people would then be able to rotate, and be both practised at putting out fires and trained to fight aircraft fires, wherever they were...

This would remove ARFFS from that disaster area called Airservices Australia, put the airports in charge of what is, after all, an airport service, and have practised fire people on hand if there was an incident.
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Old 12th Jun 2024, 04:19
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So when a Philippine Airlines A321 landed at Geraldton recently what level of RFFS was available to them in the event of a fire on board?

When a Boeing 737 from either major airline lands at Kalgoorlie or Tamworth, what level of RFFS do they receive?

Australia, a developing country.
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Old 12th Jun 2024, 07:13
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Originally Posted by compressor stall
Is this related to the mandatory RFFS 4 or greater requirement for Australian operators outside Australia but not on Australian territory for EDTO Alternates?

The requirement was going to be implemented domestically several times over the years but keeps getting pushed.
Is this that same issue at Christmas Island?
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Old 12th Jun 2024, 08:27
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Originally Posted by Mr Approach
Given that aircraft do not necessarily crash on an airport, I would have thought utilising the local State RFFS, with a permanent station at the airport, would have made more sense.
The fire people would then be able to rotate, and be both practised at putting out fires and trained to fight aircraft fires, wherever they were...

This would remove ARFFS from that disaster area called Airservices Australia, put the airports in charge of what is, after all, an airport service, and have practised fire people on hand if there was an incident.
Local RFFS simply donít have the capability to deal with aviation accidents versus their normal run of the mill house fire. They donít have the ability to lay foam for undercarriage failures nor can they handle a Jet A1 fire with their water based solutions. They donít have 10 m long, 30-tonne vehicles that can deliver 5700 litres of foam per minute and can throw foam in excess of 80 metres from their roof-mounted monitor.

Itís a fact that most crashes do occur at the airport where RFF can make a difference, I am not defending Airservices but the people in ARFFS, when I hit the crash button in the tower they never let me down.
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Old 12th Jun 2024, 10:32
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The Aviation White Paper will be interesting. Anyone got some NOTAMs or conversations to share reflecting these reduced categories?
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Old 13th Jun 2024, 01:11
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Originally Posted by markis10
Local RFFS simply donít have the capability to deal with aviation accidents versus their normal run of the mill house fire. They donít have the ability to lay foam for undercarriage failures nor can they handle a Jet A1 fire with their water based solutions. They donít have 10 m long, 30-tonne vehicles that can deliver 5700 litres of foam per minute and can throw foam in excess of 80 metres from their roof-mounted monitor.

Itís a fact that most crashes do occur at the airport where RFF can make a difference, I am not defending Airservices but the people in ARFFS, when I hit the crash button in the tower they never let me down.
You are highlighting the equipment and the training, I am addressing who should provide the service.

I also personally believe it would be better if your own control tower service was provided by the airport as well as the ARFFS. Then there would be competition for your skills instead of having to go cap-in-hand to the Federal Government every EBA.
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Old 13th Jun 2024, 02:30
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Originally Posted by aviationflyer16
The Aviation White Paper will be interesting. Anyone got some NOTAMs or conversations to share reflecting these reduced categories?
Would you care to be more open and outline the reason for your interest in the subject?
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Old 13th Jun 2024, 02:50
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Originally Posted by Mr Approach
I also personally believe it would be better if your own control tower service was provided by the airport as well as the ARFFS. Then there would be competition for your skills instead of having to go cap-in-hand to the Federal Government every EBA.
As far as I am aware, no airport owner/manager in this country has ever shown any interest in taking on the associated cost, infrastructure and responsibility for providing such services.

How many have voluntarily taken on even providing a CAGRS or UNICOM?
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Old 13th Jun 2024, 12:23
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The domestic call-outs are typically first aid calls. In trying to justify their existence, ARFF became de-facto paramedics.
Not these days. They won't come unless the incident is life-threatening, and an ambulance has already been called.

​​​​​​​Major airports such as but not limited to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney should have an ambulance service located at the airport, funded by the airport.
Why? I haven't seen too many Ambulance stations at major train stations or shopping centres. I don't recall when the airlines were the major lease holders and ran their own terminals that they had Ambo stations in them? Maybe the Airlines should pay for the Ambos since they're already paying for the Firies. It's their passengers after all.
It doesn't matter if the airlines or the airports have to provide ARFF. The passengers will ultimately be the ones paying, just as they do now.
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Old 13th Jun 2024, 21:18
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
Not these days. They won't come unless the incident is life-threatening, and an ambulance has already been called.


.
Depends on the locale , Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have domestic response vehicles with dedicated crews specifically for for first aid, motor vehicle accidents, fire alarms and special services
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Old 14th Jun 2024, 01:35
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Originally Posted by CaptainMidnight
As far as I am aware, no airport owner/manager in this country has ever shown any interest in taking on the associated cost, infrastructure and responsibility for providing such services.

How many have voluntarily taken on even providing a CAGRS or UNICOM?
I counted the UNICOMs in ERSA once a few years ago, I was surprised by how many there were.
There is now only one CAGRS, at Ayers Rock. I believe it was/is run under contract to the airport by a Melbourne-based company utilising space in the fire station observation cab.

The model in the UK is that the airports go out to tender and appoint a company to conduct ATC from the airport-owned facility.
There are about 130 ANSPs in Britaiin, we have only got one and you know how monopolies operate.....
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Old 14th Jun 2024, 08:53
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Originally Posted by Mr Approach
I counted the UNICOMs in ERSA once a few years ago, I was surprised by how many there were.
There is now only one CAGRS, at Ayers Rock. I believe it was/is run under contract to the airport by a Melbourne-based company utilising space in the fire station observation cab.

The model in the UK is that the airports go out to tender and appoint a company to conduct ATC from the airport-owned facility.
There are about 130 ANSPs in Britaiin, we have only got one and you know how monopolies operate.....
Unfortunately, the regs make it next to impossible in this great ďland of the freeĒ country.
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