The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has commissioned four new airport rescue and fire-fighting trucks acquired at a cost of Ksh 369 million.
The four trucks are destined for use at the Moi International Airport (MIA), the Kisumu International Airport (KIA), the Eldoret International Airport (EIA) and Lodwar Airport.
The firefighting trucks are in addition to two which were commissioned in March last year and at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as part of the ongoing modernisation of local airports and airstrips in the country.
The trucks include three Mercedes Benz Titan trucks with engine capacity of 700 horsepower, a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour with acceleration of 80 kilometres per hour in 25 seconds. With a weight of 34 tonnes the trucks carry a water and foam capacity of 12, 500 litres and 1,500 litres respectively.
The other truck is a Mercedes Benz AROC with an engine capacity of 456 horsepower, a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour with an acceleration speed of 80 kilometres per hour in 27 seconds. The truck has a water capacity of 5000 litres and a foam capacity of 600 litres.
According to Alex Gitari, the Acting Managing Director, KAA, the ultra-modern trucks will help KAA in meeting the challenges and demands of disaster management in the local aviation sector.
“As technology in aircraft production increases other sectors of the industry like ground support infrastructure and services like fire cover must also be upgraded to meet industry demands. We assure our customers, including our esteemed airlines that safety is our top priority at KAA and we are pledging to provide resources to ensure our airports meet the highest safety standards that go beyond the regulatory requirements.” He added.
The airports, he said, were the first and last points of contact for visitors and travelling public, and for whom safety was of major concern while using the airports. The trucks, he added, would go a long way in ensuring that airports transitioned quickly to recover and resume normal operations in case of emergencies like aircraft accidents and domestic fires.
The airports emergency response teams in Kenya comprise of airlines, ground handlers, hospitals, ambulance operators the county governments, security agencies and the neighbouring communities around the airports.