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United Kingdom Airlines Emegency Planning Group


What we do Emergency Response Considerations

Airlines need to address many issues in respect of an aircraft accident. Each airline may handle areas in different ways. Below are examples of some of the issues considered although the manner in which they are carried out will differ widely according to the location of a particular incident :-

 

PASSENGERS

Accidents may involve death, severe injury or trauma and each needs careful approach by the airline.

The manner in which victims and their families are treated by an airline will have a significant effect on the airline in the aftermath of such an event.

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FRIENDS AND RELATIVES

Following an accident families and friends of those who were travelling as well as those who thought their loved ones were on a particular flight will clamour for information. The level of enquiry for information will be exceptionally high, sometimes several thousand percent of the aircraft capacity and as a result airlines employ specialist call centres staff by trained volunteers to carry out this task and coordinate with the airlines concerned.

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MEDIA

This attention will be high profile and often speculative. Airlines should work with the media to ensure that a clear accurate message is being broadcast at all times. A series of regular press briefings, press packs, use of company web-sites and availability of senior staff will assist in ensuring a good communication flow with the media.

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EMERGENCY SERVICES

The airlines liaison with the emergency services is a key part of the crisis management. Emergency services may have the best information on the incident scene as it will be them managing the site.

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COUNSELLING

Trauma affects different people in so many ways. Airlines will have support teams from within their own organisation, supplemented by third parties to provide initial and long term support to those affected.

It is important to note that the crew and staff of the airline are very likely to need similar levels of care as do the passengers involved.

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FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Immediate financial support for victims and their families is considered by the airlines.

With incidents away from the carrier country of origin the availability of banks or other means to access funding needs to be coordinated.

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PERSONAL PROPERTY

Personal property of passengers will need to be located and returned to the owners or their families. This difficult task is often undertaken by a specialist third party agency who works with local investigation authorities and emergency services in the recovery operation.

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BASIC NEEDS AND SUPPORT

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, replacement clothing, food and accommodation will be required and an urgent supply of each needs to be sought by the airline and their representatives. Local volunteer organsiations and charities are often called in to assist along with local government social support services.

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RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES

Air travel is a global and the religious sensitivities and customs of airlines passengers again needs to be considered and observed wherever possible.

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ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

This is a legal obligation as well as a moral one for airlines to assist the authorities in investigating an accident.

An important part of the response that needs to be staffed by knowledgeable flight crew and engineering staff.

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