Busier airport will need a new firetruck
Marlborough Airport may be faced with having to buy its own firetruck if the number of flights in and out of Blenheim increases.
Until June, fulltime on-site and rescue firefighting services were provided by air force fire support at Base Woodbourne. However, those hours were cut for budget reasons, and the new service operates only on weekdays from 8am to 5pm, leaving the Renwick Volunteer Fire Brigade as the first emergency response outside those hours.
Marlborough Airport manager Dean Heiford said an average of 118 flights a week that were not covered by an on-site rescue and firefighting service.
In the airport's busiest three months, there were fewer than 700 flights of the Bombardier Q300 aircraft, a bigger aircraft which seats about 50 passengers.
If that number increased, which was likely, the airport would need a Category 3 rescue fire cover, which included one crash and fire truck and a person to operate it.
As the Renwick brigade did not have a foam truck and carried limited quantities of foam, a new truck would be necessary, he said.
"If they put a Q300 [50 seats] or bigger on the Auckland-Blenheim sector permanently we could reach this in the next two years.
"It is really dependent on Air NZ Group."
The new truck would need to be based at the airport in order to meet response times, Mr Heiford said.
It took Renwick firefighters about 15 minutes to assemble and get to the airport.
Marlborough Airport was willing to provide additional training to the Renwick brigade, Mr Heiford said.
The airport company was reviewing options with rescue fire services, and was looking at both training and equipment requirements.
- The Marlborough Express