K.V. Subramanya

BIA is equipped with CAT-9 level of fire protection

The aim is to achieve response time of two minutes to each end of runway

CHICKABALLAPUR: Certain facilities at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) at Devanahalli, which will shortly complete one year of commercial operations, may have come under criticism for not being up to required standards, but this is not the case with BIA’s Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) system. The state-of the-art ARFF system has been attracting trainees from reputed fire-fighting training colleges.

The BIA is equipped with CAT-9 level of fire protection in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards. Airports are categorised on a scale of 1-10, based on the largest size of aircraft they regularly cater to. The largest airports in the world at the moment are said to be CAT-9.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) Chief Executive Officer Marcel Hungerbuehler told The Hindu that the ARFF set-up at the BIA had been designed to meet the operational objective of the rescue and fire-fighting services to achieve the response time of two minutes to each end of the runway and not exceeding three minutes to any other location of the movement area in optimum visibility.


The BIA’s ARFF team comprises 130 personnel, including seven officers, 26 supervisors and 97 technicians, who work round the clock in three watch shift systems.


Mr. Hungerbuehler said that recently the Divisional Fire Officers’ course trainees from the National Fire Service College, Nagpur, which is the highest training forum for government fire officers in the country, visited the airport to study the ARFF preparedness of BIA.

As part of the curriculum, these officers are required to undergo practical visits to various industries. The ARFF of BIA was selected to study the ARFF preparation, and its fire-fighting facilities at the airport terminal building and other areas of the airport. The programme was coordinated by the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services.

Study tour

Besides, the Karnataka Government Fire Officer trainees from R.A. Mundkur Fire and Emergency Service Academy, as part of their training curriculum, also undergo a study tour of the airport facilities.


The airport’s fire fighters have been trained in ICAO-approved training centres at Airport Authority of India in Delhi and Kolkata. They were trained in the use and maintenance of equipment and in operational tactics, which covers the deployment of personnel and equipment to accomplish control of fire to permit rescue operations to proceed. Further, all fire crew members are trained in St. John’s Ambulance First Aid, he said.

Regular training

The aviation fire-fighting trainers from Unique Zurich Airport impart practical training in tactical aircraft fire fighting to all the crew. The crew have undergone familiarisation training on all types of aircraft that operate from the BIA. Periodical training is organised on topography and vital installation familiarisation. It is mandatory for the ARFF crew to attend live fire drills organised at the training fire pit once a month, Mr. Hungerbuehler said.