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Auckland Airport welcomes new firefighting engines

12 March, 2014

Auckland Airport welcomes new state-of-the-art firefighting engines

Four firefighting vehicles were unveiled today during a ceremony at Auckland Airport, declaring the new engines officially ready for service!

The Rosenbauer Panthers are the most sophisticated firefighting vehicles on the market today and have been specifically designed to cater for the full fleet of aircraft serving Auckland including the increasing number of A380s that serve Auckland Airport.

Judy Nicholl, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical operations, says the four new Panthers were purchased by the airport for $5.3 million and will help to ensure the Airport Emergency Services team is providing the best emergency response possible.

“The prime focus of our Emergency Services team is to save lives,” says Ms Nicholl. “These new Panthers mean our team has the best equipment that is out there today, maximising our ability to save lives in an aviation rescue operation.”

“The new engines also form part of Auckland Airport’s ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ business strategy to invest in infrastructure to support our long-term growth requirements,” says Ms Nicholl. “With these Panthers, we are proactively investing in the upgrade of Airport Emergency Services equipment to ensure we will continue to provide a world class response to an aviation incident.”

The vehicles, which came from Austria, were chosen through a worldwide tender process. The process was won by The Rosenbauer Group, a world leader in airport firefighting appliances.

The Rosenbauer Panthers have state-of-the-art technology including engine and pump monitoring systems, CCTV, thermal imaging cameras and extinguishing systems. They are also the first firefighting vehicles of their size to comply with the environmental standard Euro 5.

“The firefighting equipment built into these Panthers was also developed to meet the operational requirements of new generation aircraft including the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in service today,” says Ms Nicholl. “This was important for us considering we already have three A380s serving Auckland Airport, a number which will only continue to increase.”

At the ceremony, which was held at Auckland Airport Emergency Services Fire station, the four Panthers received a blessing in which each vehicle was gifted with a local Maori ancestral name – Oruarangi, Waitomokia, Wairere and Waikohu.

The Airport Emergency Services team is currently undergoing intensive training to ensure they are fully skilled in operating the Panthers, which have an operational life-span of 15 to 20 years.

Naming of vehicles
Auckland Airport asked its two neighbouring Marae, Makaurau Marae and Pukaki Marae, to name two of the Panthers each.

Makaurau Marae chose ancestral names Oruarangi and Waitomokia
Oruarangi: Ruarangi was an ancestor of Makaurau who was said to be a great warrior. His name was given to many places and O-Ruarangi is that which is given to Makaurau’s river to honour him. There is a lava cave that runs behind one of Makaurau’s whanau homes under the roadway and travels some distance toward the back of one of the farms; this is also attributed to Ruarangi. It is said he became a taniwha.

Waitomokia: Waitomokia is simply the main source of Makaurau’s water in the days gone by and where a huge fortified pa once stood. It was completely destroyed in the 1960s.

Pukaki Marae chose the names Wairere and Waikohu
Wairere: Flowing waters
Waikohu: Misty waters


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