All Things Travel: ‘Go Team’ Helps Keep Logan Airport Travelers Safe

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – Logan International Airport’s “Go Team” is providing big returns for Massport.

The three-person team is on stand-by and leaves for the site of an aircraft crash to bring back lessons for training at the Boston airport. It is made up of representatives of airport management, Fire and Rescue, and the Massachusetts State Police.

The team left for San Francisco on July 6 after the Asiana crash at San Francisco International Airport and remained on the West Coast for three days. Information obtained was especially valuable because the crash occurred in a landing over water, similar to an approach at the Boston airport.

Aviation Director Ed Freni briefed the Massport Board of Directors on the trip at its monthly meeting on July 18.

Not only did the Go Team interact with their counterparts in San Francisco, but they also gained valuable information from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The NTSB had spent time at Logan in January, when a Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner caught fire while parked at Terminal E.

In his remarks, Freni indicated that the Boston team had learned some new lessons from their trip to San Francisco to study the emergency response to a crash of this type.

First, a language barrier with the Asian passengers, many of them from South Korea, had to be overcome. Second, the San Francisco airport was shutdown for five hours, causing a major traffic jam. Third, many of the surviving passengers evacuated the plane and used cell phones to aid the injured.

The Go Team report submitted on their return showed that more coordination would be needed with foreign counsels in Boston in the event of a similar incident at Logan. More discussions should also be held regarding access to the airport to allow rescue vehicles to arrive at a crash scene. More than 100 ambulances could be needed.

There may also be a need for smaller rescue boats for use in the harbor, according to the report.

Fire and rescue crews stationed at Logan are trained to reach any point along a runway within two minutes of being called.

The first Go Team was formed at Logan in 1988.

“We are well-positioned to respond,” Freni concluded in his remarks.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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