LMM unveils $1M emergency response vehicle to operate larger scale aircraft
Aerostar Puerto Rico announced the investment of more than $1 million for a new emergency response truck, which will allow Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM) to increase its rating to operate a greater number of wide-body aircraft.
This unit adds to the airport’s existing rescue fleet, which allows the airport to respond to emergency scenarios in compliance with stringent federal regulations, company officials said.
“This is an important investment that will allow the airport to align with the market trend of using larger aircraft. Adapting to this trend will make it easier for us to continue handling a high volume of flights,” said Jorge Hernández, president of Aerostar Airport Holdings, Muñoz Marín Airport’s operator.
“This way, we can continue supporting local passenger traffic and that generated by the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” he said, adding that the airport had its best August ever in terms of air traffic, registering 1,116,216 passengers.
He explained that it was necessary to increase the response capacity in the event of an air emergency to comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, given the rise that the airport has experienced in the number of flights, passengers and especially larger aircraft.
August marked the third consecutive month that the airport broke records for passenger traffic compared with previous years, Hernández said.
Currently, the airport operates under a D capacity index. With the new truck, it will move to an E index. The airport’s new classification will allow higher capacity aircraft to operate seamlessly during any emergency that may arise, a provision established by the federal agency that regulates the facility.
Equipped with the latest technology, the new Oshkosh Striker truck has a 1,500-gallon water capacity, and can utilize foam and dry chemicals as extinguishing agents.
The truck joins a fleet of specialty vehicles that includes a Stinger Rapid Response, a 1,500-gallon capacity Striker 4×4, and a 3,000-gallon Striker 6×6. Along with the new truck, a response unit that would be activated in the event of a major disaster, known in the industry as a Mass Casualty Trailer, was also acquired.
The emergency vehicle fleet is operated by a group of 31 specialized firefighters and rescuers who are trained and certified annually to handle emergencies at the airport.
The funds allocated to the airport’s air rescue division represent a significant portion of Aerostar’s yearly investment, Hernández said. The total investment in the fleet reaches about $4 million, including the new truck.
This is on top of an average annual investment of about $1 million in emergency management, which includes a budget for training firefighters and emergency management personnel, he said.
“The emergency unit is a priority within our operations, highly trained and is consistently in compliance with the requirements established by the federal agencies that regulate the operation of the airport,” Hernández said.
The new truck was approved for use earlier this month after completing a 10-month production run at the assembly plant in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he said.