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Photo: Finavia

Aircraft evacuation rules upgraded in Finland

An investigation into a troubled emergency evacuation incident over a year ago found serious faults.

Aircraft evacuation and rescue rules have been updated at all airports in Finland, the Lännen Media news service and Finnish broadcaster Yle are reporting.

The upgrade by airport operator Finavia follows an investigation by the country’s Safety Investigation Authority into the emergency evacuation of a plane at Turku Airport in December 2017.

A Finnair flight had departed from Helsinki to Gothenburg in Sweden, but it quickly diverted to Turku when smoke appeared in the cabin.

The Embraer 190 was being operated by Nordic Regional Airlines, which is 40% owned by Finnair and, from last year, 60% by Danish Air Transport.

On landing, the pilot decided to evacuate the 100 passengers and four crew, but not enough ground vehicles were to hand to assist in the evacuation.

The smoke had been caused by a failure in the aircraft’s air conditioning system, but the incident did not result in any injuries.

90 second rule
The investigation found that deficiencies in Turku Airport’s emergency planning meant there was not enough availability of vehicles to transport large numbers of people to the terminal.

In addition, the safety probe concluded that crew must ensure that passengers follow evacuation orders and leave carry-on bags behind.

Time wasted in panicking passengers trying to find carry-ons during an emergency can lead to deaths or injuries, the report stressed.

In future emergency evacuations, an aircraft must be emptied of passengers within 90 seconds, the new Finavia rules state.

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