Is the ground moving?

Recent aftershocks have some people asking why we don’t evacuate the terminal each time the ground moves in the city.

The answer is that we usually don't need to.

We have some pretty clever equipment on site which tells us exactly what is happening on the airport land and whether we should enact our emergency response procedures.

After the September 2010 quake, we felt the Richter scale was too general for us. A reading in one part of town might mean a lot there, but less in other areas, so we looked for ways to know exactly what was happening to the ground at the airport.

We now use the Mercalli scale alongside hard quantitative data gathered from accelerographs on the airfield - sensitive machines which measure the level of vertical upward and lateral acceleration.

In a shake, data comes in from various points around the airport and informs what actions we take. The combination of information, a vast amount of in-depth knowledge, experience, and understanding of how our buildings have behaved over the past five years of seismic activity, helps us make sound judgements in a seismic event.

Sometimes what we do will not be visible to visitors to the airport, but rest assured we have our procedures and we follow them every time.

But if you're not convinced, ask one of our staff members - they'll have the answers for you.