Situations may occur that require the Melbourne International Airport to respond immediately and assertively to ensure public safety and national security. Below is an outline of the airport’s planned responses to such events.
MEDIA INFORMATION FOR EMERGENCIES:
Melbourne International Airport's primary goals in the event of an emergency are to provide security and prevent loss of life or injuries, minimize loss of property and restore normal operations as soon as safely possible. The airport’s ability to effectively respond to an emergency is paramount. Designated spokespeople will address news-media requests as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Alert I (Minor Difficulty): Indicates that an aircraft approaching the airport has reported that it may be having minor distress, i.e. indicator lights showing possible problems, oil leak, and rough-running engine. All precautionary landings declared by the aircraft crew are considered to be of an Alert I status.
Alert II (Major Difficulty): Indicates that an aircraft approaching the airport has reported a major difficulty, i.e. engine fire, faulty landing gear, no hydraulic pressure. All emergency landings declared by the aircraft crew are to be considered an Alert II status.
Alert III (Accident): The aircraft involved has been in an accident on or adjacent to airport property.
Alert IV (Other Emergency Incidents): Indicates that an emergency exists other than those previously listed.
AVIATION REGULATORY AGENCIES:
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
The NTSB and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are the federal agencies that investigate aircraft accidents. They also take custody of the aircraft and its contents from the time fire/rescue activities are concluded and until a full investigation is completed, or a release is given. Upon the arrival of the NTSB investigating team, MLB staff may assume a support role to the NTSB or the FAA at their request. The NTSB also operates a Family Assistance program designated to provide for family members of those involved in an aircraft incident.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Various branches of the FAA have responsibilities in an aircraft emergency. The FAA operates the control tower at Melbourne International and controls air traffic during an emergency to permit rescue equipment to proceed to the accident site. Once the Control Tower initiates an alert, MLB’s Airport Operations Office assumes control of the airfield until the emergency is ended.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
The TSA is responsible for screening of all passengers and baggage as well as certain other security functions at the nation's airports. In an emergency, TSA representatives will work with MLB personnel and public safety officials to manage the incident. Homeland Security/TSA also is responsible for the Federal Air Marshal Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI has jurisdiction in the event an emergency situation occurs aboard an aircraft that is still on the ground. If the aircraft is in flight, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction.
In the event of an emergency, the airline is responsible for providing information regarding passengers aboard the aircraft and any details about the crew, flight and aircraft. Any manifest (the term for a list including the names of passengers and crewmembers on an aircraft) is the responsibility of the airline, not the airport.
In the event of an emergency, an authorized airport representative will distribute credentials and/or other official designation to news media from a central location. Presentation of valid identification and agency credentials will be required. When conditions and circumstances permit, members of the news media, with MLB-issued credentials, may be escorted to the scene of the incident, safety permitting. Unauthorized persons attempting access to the site of an emergency on airport property will be immediately detained by airport police and/or security.
PROCEDURES FOR NEWS MEDIA ARRIVING ON PROPERTY DURING AN EMERGENCY:
For news media covering an emergency, a media liaison will be identified and will act as the official airport representative. Media will be advised of a specific area of the airport, or of an off-site location, that will serve as a media center for press conferences and updates.
The TSA does not allow the photographing of luggage screening by the TSA’s new explosives detection system or of TSA representatives engaged in conducting a baggage search. The airport may restrict the use of flash, strobes or other high-intensity lighting that might affect response to the situation. Otherwise, photographs and video may be taken anywhere that media has been permitted access.
MLB has implemented this policy to protect the privacy and ensure the safety of the traveling public. The restrictions also prevent the dissemination of confidential operational information to parties with unlawful intentions. Based on the nature of any given situation, the official in charge may restrict media movement to allow a safe and orderly response to an incident. Media may not interfere with the public’s access to gates, ticket counters, baggage areas or other areas in the terminal.
When an emergency is declared contained, transportation and/or escorted trips (depending on the location of the incident) may be provided on an "as-needed" basis upon approval of the official in charge.
Media satellite trucks will be required to park in employee lot #2 for live feeds. News helicopters may not be permitted to fly within the designated on-airport emergency area. In some cases, pool coverage may be required.
As soon as possible, the media liaison will conduct a preliminary briefing at the designated media center. During an emergency situation, the media liaison will make every effort to provide the following information:
Date and time of incident
Name of airline or aircraft owner
Type of aircraft and flight number
Number of persons on board (if confirmed)
General description of incident
Conditions at scene of incident
Impact on airport operations
Our goal is to provide timely and accurate information in a professional, responsible and reliable manner.
Airport personnel/media liaison will provide only information that has been confirmed by either the airline, NTSB, TSA, FBI or FAA. Requests for additional information will be directed to the responsible agency.
Updates will be provided as new information becomes available. The media liaison will coordinate with airline representatives and other involved agencies to hold briefings at the media briefing/coordination center.