In the modern world, around 100,000 flights take off daily to suffice the increasing need for global transport. These include cargo aircraft, passenger airplanes, and military jets. With increasing flights, the frequency of malfunctions increases drastically. Additionally, there are several other types of airport emergencies and threats that should not be overlooked. Airport authorities ensure the elimination of major disasters and security issues. As a passenger, one should be aware of these emergencies and understand the situation without panicking and creating chaos amidst such distress.

Let us look at the types of airport emergencies

1. Aircraft emergencies

As aircraft have numerous intricate parts, it is prone to minor and major failures. Aircraft emergencies need prompt attention as they may cause heavy losses in terms of human lives and money. These emergencies can include engine failure, fire hazards, gear issues, collisions, landing problems, and more.

2. Medical emergencies

With so many people with different age groups and health conditions traveling all around the world, medical emergencies become a common sight. The response to health emergencies depends on the severity of the condition. However, the airport authority takes every medical emergency as a priority to avoid any discomfort to the passengers. Pilots can land airplanes before the destination in case of heart attacks, strokes, or other life-threatening situations for the ground staff to respond quickly.

3. Fire emergencies and power failures


Electrical power failures can lead to fire outbreaks in the airport. However, airports are equipped with the necessary facilities to stop major fire issues, one should follow the instructions of airport staff without panicking in the situation. You may have to evacuate the airport in extreme cases. Power failures can also cause faulty lighting, communication, screens, and air conditioning. You should cooperate with the airport staff and avoid causing a ruckus.

4. Security threats

With rising cases of terrorism and homicides, security has become one of the primary concerns of airliners and airport authorities. The various checkposts are established to check any unwanted substances such as bombs or weapons being taken onboard. Another threat to inland security is the smuggling of prohibited items such as liquor, drugs, gold, etc. Therefore, passengers should cooperate and take part in all of the safety checks and avoid carrying banned objects to steer clear of legal issues.

5. Natural disasters and hazardous material incidents

One of the emergencies in which passengers’ and visitors’ full cooperation is needed by the airport authority is natural disasters. The protocol can differ from calamity to calamity such as evacuation will be needed in case of earthquakes, while passengers are suggested to stay within the airport during hurricanes and tornadoes. Apart from natural disasters, airplanes carry numerous hazardous materials that can leak due to several reasons and human errors. While the experts try to control the leakage, visitors should evacuate the airport and maintain a safe distance from the hotspot.

6. Runway incursions

Runway incursions refers to the situation when an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle, or person enters the runway without permission. This can lead to fatal collisions and result in loss of lives. Air traffic control monitors the runway and gives clearance only after it is clear for takeoff.

7. Aircraft hijacking

Though aircraft hijacking is a rare phenomenon, it is still very much real. The threat requires multiple disciplines and countries to work together for the safe landing of the passengers. Additionally, visitors can be asked to move out and all other flights from the nearby airports can get canceled. Highly trained units and security forces can be mobilized at the airport to manage the emergency.

8. Structural failures

Structural failures in airport buildings, including terminal structures, hangars, or control towers, can lead to emergencies. These failures may be caused by factors such as natural disasters, structural defects, or accidents. Immediate evacuation, assessment of damage, and necessary repairs are undertaken to ensure the safety and functionality of the affected areas.

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9. Bird strikes

Bird strikes occur when birds collide with aircraft during takeoff, landing, or in flight. This can damage the aircraft’s engines, windshield, or other critical components, jeopardizing flight safety. Airports employ various bird control measures, such as habitat management, deterrents, and aircraft scare tactics, to mitigate the risk of bird strikes.

10. Communication failures


Communication is vital in airport operations, including coordination between air traffic control, pilots, ground personnel, and other stakeholders. The failures, such as radio or data transmission disruptions, can impede the safe and efficient functioning of the airport. Contingency plans, backup systems, and alternative communication methods are employed to address such emergencies.

11. Aircraft accidents

Although rare, aircraft accidents can occur at or near airports. These incidents involve crashes, collisions, or incidents resulting in significant damage to aircraft. Rapid response from airport emergency services, firefighting units, and medical teams is essential to rescue survivors, provide medical aid, and secure the accident scene.

Each airport has its specific emergency response plans tailored to its size, location, and operational characteristics. These plans are regularly reviewed, tested, and updated to ensure the highest level of preparedness for any type of airport emergencies. We hope that the article will help you prepare for the various types of airport emergencies.

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Types Of Airport Emergencies FAQs

What is an airport emergency?

Any situation that causes a threat to the safety, security, or operations of the airport is considered an airport emergency. It includes incidents such as hijacking, fires, bombs, severe weather conditions, aircraft accidents, and many such situations.

What should one do during an airport emergency?

Different emergencies have different protocols. However, the most common thing to do is to not panic and follow the instructions of the airport authority and crew carefully.

Can airport emergencies create flight delays or cancellations?

Yes, it is quite common for airport emergencies to create flight delays and cancellations. However, it majorly depends on the severity of the emergency. Airports generally provide alternative options for passengers in such cases.

Does airport ensure measures to handle medical emergencies?

Yes, airports have medical facilities along with certified professionals to handle medical emergencies at the airport. They can provide basic assistance then and there at the airport. There are various ambulances present at the airport that can be used to commute patients to hospitals.


Pratyush is a traveling enthusiast who always looks for innovations in business travel management. He has 5 years of experience writing content on corporate travel management and working closely with expert business travel facilitators.