A multi-agency emergency management exercise will be conducted at Sydney Airport today to test our response to a simulated flight disaster, announced the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Troy Grant. SysEx 2018 is a major emergency management exercise involving more than 20 agencies and organisations including the NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW SES.

Mr Grant said six months of planning had gone into SydEx 2018 to ensure the exercise is as close to real life as possible. “It is absolutely critical that our flight disaster emergency management arrangements are tested in a practical and realistic setting, so that we are prepared and ready to act should an incident occur in real life,” said Mr Grant.


“More than 43 million people travelled to or from Sydney Airport in 2017 and this exercise will ensure our response to a flight emergency is coordinated, flexible and swift.” The exercise scenario involves a domestic flight, which experiences an engine fire and in the process of landing, the landing gear fails resulting in numerous fatalities and injuries.

Around 500 personnel will be involved, including 170 volunteers from a range of agencies to role-play passengers, family and friends of those involved in the incident. State Emergency Operations Controller, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, said today’s exercise will be one of the largest ever conducted at Sydney Airport.

“We are not just testing our response to the exercise incident site, but the arrangements which flow from there. These plans are just as important and reach across the footprint of the airport,” said Mr Worboys. “The arrangements that will be tested today include: passenger reception and transport to the disaster victim identification location; the processes for victim registration including passenger and relative reception/registration; and the involvement of border agencies in air crash incidents.”

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Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said today’s exercise reinforced the airport’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a safe environment. “Sydney Airport has robust, best-practice emergency management procedures in place that would inform our response in the extremely unlikely event of an emergency,” he said. “Today’s exercise provides an opportunity for our team to work closely with the relevant agencies to once again put these procedures into practice using a real-time scenario.”

Members of the public who reside near, travel around, or are planning to come to Sydney Airport today should be aware that they might see a significant amount of emergency service vehicles. There is no need to be alarmed – this is an exercise only. Those involved in the exercise include the NSW Police Force, Fire & Rescue NSW, Office of Emergency Management Disaster Welfare Services, NSW SES, NSW Ambulance, NSW Health, NSW Coroner’s Office, Airservices Australia – Air Traffic Control, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF), Sydney Airport Corporation Limited, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Red Cross.