Emergency exercise at Schoenefeld Airport

27.05.11 14:00
Simulation of a collision involving an aircraft and a refuelling vehicle / Cooperation between all services involved was practiced / Emergency test at Schoenefeld is a highly realistic simulation of the actual situation
Last Saturday, between 1pm and 6pm Schoenefeld Airport was the scene of a large-scale emergency exercise. This test is performed regularly – at intervals of no more than two years – by Berlin Airports together with the county of Dahme-Spreewald. The objective of the exercise is to practice the cooperation of all services involved in such a situation, primarily the federal and state police, the county administration, the fire brigade, the Johanniter emergency services, the airlines and handling agents. The preparations for the exercise were kept absolutely secret to ensure that the exercise was as realistic as possible.

The hypothetical situation:

An incident has occurred on a flight from Munich to Hamburg: there is smoke in the cockpit and a smell of burning. The aircraft is forced to make an emergency landing at Schoenefeld Airport. During landing a runway incursion occurs, meaning that there is an aircraft, vehicle or person on the runway, and this causes a collision.

The exercise:

An air traffic controller of German Air Control reports from the tower that an aircraft with smoke in the cockpit is coming in for an emergency landing and he alerts the fire brigade. The fire brigade control centre alerts all the other services according to Berlin Airports’ emergency plan and triggers the alarm chain. The airport fire brigade takes up their positions on the runway. The other county services gather at the pre-arranged meeting point to await further instructions. During the emergency landing of the Airbus A319 a refuelling vehicle crosses the runway; a collision occurs, fatally injuring the driver and causing the refuelling vehicle to catch fire and burst into flames. The aircraft collides with the ground and breaks into three parts.

The fire brigade immediately starts rescuing the passengers and crew and fighting the fire in the aircraft. The injured passengers are evacuated from the danger zone and taken to nearby hospitals in the region; uninjured passengers are evacuated to Schoenefeld Airport’s conference centre where they are registered and all necessary care is provided.

The emergency exercise was supervised – as would also be the case in a real emergency – by the emergency control centre at Schoenefeld Airport. The centre is staffed by one representative from each of the services involved.


At around 3pm the incident commander was able to give the all-clear and a positive summary: communication and cooperation between all services involved was good. All on-site processes took place without communication delays and information losses. In total, around 100 vehicles and 650 staff were on site, including 220 firemen, 50 staff from the various services involved, 47 staff from the state and federal police, over 60 emergency responders, around 100 observers, the members of the crisis management group in the emergency control centre and 65 extras from the RUD Team (Real Emergency Simulation). All processes will be analysed in detail and evaluated over the next few weeks.

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Hannes Stefan Hönemann

Hannes Stefan Hönemann Head of Corporate

+49 30 6091-70100

Daniel Tolksdorf

Daniel Tolksdorf Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100

Kathrin Westhölter

Kathrin Westhölter Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100