Wellington Airport workers kept "in the dark" during quake aftermath


Wellington Airport managers must front up to serious questions over its response to Monday morning’s earthquake - and how it communicated with other agencies, the PSA says.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says around a dozen staff from the Ministry of Primary Industries plus additional Customs and other workers were at the airport when the quake hit.

"We have spoken to our members at Wellington airport and they are gravely concerned at what happened on Monday," Mr Barclay says.

"Our members have told us they are not well briefed on emergency procedures or evacuation plans.

"This is a serious concern, especially considering Wellington Airport sits just 2 kilometres from a fault line."

Virgin’s flight VA108 from Brisbane landed 20 minutes after the first quake and MPI and Customs staff processed passengers and cargo with little information about their own safety.

Mr Barclay says MPI staff stayed on duty after the tsunami warning was issued, and another shift was required to be back on duty to process flights arriving shortly after 6am, while it was still in place.

"Our members felt like they were expected to just get on with their jobs, but were totally in the dark about the risks they were facing - and the emergency procedures.

"This is simply not good enough.

"There may have been a good rationale for allowing the plane to land and requiring staff to stay - but this was not transmitted to front-line staff.

"Our members deserve to feel safe at work - but more importantly, the thousands of passengers who travel through Wellington Airport every day need to know they are safe too.

"We urgently call for a review of how emergency information is transmitted to workers at Wellington Airport and to the public."