While commending the hard work of airport and airline staff at Faro airport in the aftermath of last Monday’s mini-tornado, I must say that I was shocked by the apparent lack of adequate organisation and contingency planning for emergencies such as this.
My wife and I had arrived at the airport at 9am on Monday for a flight to the UK to find complete chaos in the passenger terminal in the wake of the weather event, which took place at 5am.
The passenger terminal building seemed to have been severely damaged, though only the worst affected parts, the arrivals area and the one end of the departures section had been declared out of bounds to passengers.
Was the rest of the building fully checked by structural engineers before passengers were let in? Could this have been done in such a short time with access greatly limited by the presence of passengers who had presumably been pouring in since 5am when the incident took place?
Even though there was virtually no flight activity at this stage (only a small handful of planes were to take off later), coach loads of passengers were still being allowed into the terminal which was massively overcrowded, much more so surely than any rules could have permitted, Communication was virtually non-existent.
Literally thousands of people were crammed in the building with no purpose yet no effort was made to evacuate or partially evacuate the building or to communicate with passengers or control crowds. We saw passengers being taken away having fainted in the crush.
Why was the building not evacuated until the damage could be properly assessed and why were passengers not restricted from entry when there was no purpose for most in entering? What would have happened if there had been further consequential damage or a fire for example?
EDWARD CARTER, By email