November 30, 2020 – The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is concerned about the recent reduction in airport firefighting capability at St. John’s International Airport especially after a recent incident that occurred over the weekend.
Citing the reduction in travelers as a result of the pandemic as the reason, the airport decided to reduce the number of onsite firefighters to 2 who will be able to respond to an incident at any given time. UCTE is concerned that this comes at the price of safety for those who are still travelling.
Transport Canada regulations require airport firefighters be ready at all times. St. John’s Airport has cut firefighting services to the bare bones which means firefighters are not able to do anything else including being the first responders should there be a medical emergency on a flight. This exact situation happened this weekend and resulted in a patient who had a medical episode being left without medical treatment for approximately 12 minutes.
“St. John’s Airport is the last major airport for transatlantic flights,” explained Chris Bussey, Atlantic Regional Vice-President for the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees. “The reduction in airport firefighters, airport first responders, puts travelers at risk.”
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