One of the most high-tech fire trucks in the world, the Rosenbauer Panther, is coming to Nelson Airport.
The $1.4 million investment as part of a purchasing order with Queenstown, Invercargill and Dunedin Airports means Nelson Airport will have one of the very best rescue fire vehicles available.
“Nelson Airport’s ambition is to be the best regional airport in New Zealand and in order to achieve that we must make sure we have the most modern equipment,” says James Middlewick, Nelson Airport’s airfield and safety manager.
“The Panther has a proven track record overseas and brings with it greater capabilities and a better response time than our current vehicle.”
Equipped with a 700 horsepower Volvo engine, a cannon that can throw water up to 80 metres and a pump that blasts 7000 litres of water per minute, the Panther is the vehicle of choice for many airports around the world.
As part of its commitment to safety, Nelson Airport is also building a new fire station with an incorporated emergency operations centre. The station, which will house the Panther, will be built further east of the terminal than the existing station, providing a better view of the runway and making it easier for emergency services arriving from the city.
“The purchase of the fire truck and plan to build a new emergency operations centre illustrates Nelson Airport’s commitment to investing in world-class airport safety systems,” says James.
“The Nelson Airport team really look forward to the Panther arriving towards the end of 2022 and completion of the emergency operations centre soon after.”
Nelson Airport’s Rescue Fire Service don’t just deal with fires. On-site from 5.30am to 10.30pm daily they provide security for the airport, safety for passengers in the terminal, escort contractors onto the tarmac, manage wildlife incursions, respond to all kinds of emergencies and undertake airfield inspections.
The Rescue Fire Service was, in May this year, brought in-house after more than 30 years of providing the service to Nelson Airport as a contractor. The five full-time staff have now been taken on by Nelson Airport Limited with recruitment underway for a sixth firefighter to join the team.