The Keflavík Airport chapter of the National Firefighter Association sent out an announcement yesterday saying that safety conditions, related to air traffic at Keflavík Airport, are in serious disarray in part because of downsizing and the lay-offs of very able employees.
According to the announcement 32 employees of the snow clearing division have been given notice; the reduction in staff has already seriously impacted the procedures for de-icing runways and clearing them of snow.
“This has effected, and will greatly effect, the traffic at the airport whereas once the air strips were cleared up to 65 meters wide in 15 minutes now 15 – 20 meters are cleared in the same amount of time. Therefore there is no margin for error for a plane full with passengers not to go off runway especially in side-wind,” wrote the Firefighter Association in their announcement.
According to the firefighters, because of the lay-offs, there are now on average only 15 firefighters are on call. In their statement, the firefighters claim that if an aviation accident occurs 15 firefighters will be unable to cope with the situation in a timely manner.
The firefighters call the current situation “unacceptable”. They call on the Icelandic government to get negotiations with the US about the future of the US-led Iceland Defense Force at Keflavik back on track and remove the uncertainty surrounding the safety of people traveling through the airport and the uncertainty faced by the safety professionals employed at the airport.