Land’s End Airport’s Fire Service – at the heart of airport life
Our fire and rescue service plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of Land’s End Airport.
But as well as firefighting, the airport’s dedicated firefighters have a list of more than 200 different jobs to their name.
“Our primary role is as firefighters, but in reality we do so much more,” explained Fire Service Manager Jonathan Stephens, affectionately known to all as Jono. “At the last count, we were responsible for more than 200 jobs here at the airport.
“These range from loading and unloading 1,000 tonnes of baggage and 340 tonnes of freight each year, to refuelling the aircraft and clearing birds from the runway, maintaining all our vehicles and equipment and dealing with emergency situations.
“Working at an airport is unique and very different from working in the normal fire service. It’s a busy technical job and one we are very proud of.”
Land’s End Airport has 11 firefighters split into two crews of five, with Jono floating between them. The crews work three days a week, up to 13 hours a day. Seven of the crew are also retained firefighters for Cornwall Fire and Rescue.
Situated at the heart of the airport, the firefighters are able to quickly respond to a wide range of incidents, whether on the airfield, in the terminal and outbuildings, as well as in the local community.
Under Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules, Land’s End Airport must have its own dedicated fire crew in order to allow Skybus and private aircraft to operate at the airport. Outside the airport’s boundaries, the crews cover 1,000 metres in all directions.
Constant training is a major part of the job, with all firefighters qualified to a high category firefighter level meaning they can work at any airport in the country.
The airport has two bespoke fire appliances – a £200,000 primary response vehicle, built to the company’s specifications in 2016, and a state-of-the-art Toyota Hilux fire truck which came into service earlier this year.
The appliances provide the airport with the latest technology tailored for the needs of the airport.
There are 70,000 litres of Jet A1 and 30,000 litres of Avgas fuel stored at the airport at any one time. Taking delivery of the fuel and refuelling the aircraft – up to 30 times on a busy day – is also in the fire crews’ remit.
“Our day is governed by the Skybus schedule, and when a plane lands, we’re a bit like a pit-stop team,” said Jono. “We’re straight into refuelling and dealing with baggage. It’s a real team effort.”
Land’s End Airport Fire Crew Statistics
Six days a week, up to 13 hours a day
200 different jobs
1,000m in all directions
340 tonnes of Royal Mail and freight
1,000 tonnes of baggage
Annual fuel dispensed/used: Avgas – 60,000 litres a year, Jet A1 – 540,000 litres a year