Case Study: Auckland Airport

January 22, 2017

Client: Auckland Airport

PRODUCTS USED: Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge

As New Zealand’s busiest airport, the Auckland Airport Emergency Services team are at the ready to provide a world-class response to an aviation incident.

Part of their extensive rescue equipment includes the Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge, which the Airport first purchased in 2014.

In just under a minute, the Bridge inflates to provide the Emergency Services team with a stable platform across water, mud or other unstable surfaces. It means rescuers can quickly and easily reach, retrieve and transport causalities.

The Bridge can even be towed behind a boat or hovercraft while there are people on board and is ideal for the conditions of the neighbouring Manukau Harbour.

The Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge was developed in close consultation with the New Zealand Police Maritime Unit. The Maritime Unit thoroughly tested the design in real-life training scenarios before using it in the field as a rescue device for the America’s Cup in 2000.

This rigorous testing has ensured that the Bridge is stable even in rough water and high wind, easy to deploy, compact to store and can be inflated with just a standard aluminum dive tank.

Capacity was also considered and a single Bridge can hold up to 24 people on top, with additional grab-lines along its side for additional people to grasp on to. Two or more Bridges can also be rafted together.


The Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge allows for:
• Easy and quick deployment – no special tools are required to inflate
• Directional launching – unrolls in the direction required
• Towing on most surfaces – using a boat or hovercraft
• Stability – remains stable even in high wind and rough sea conditions
• Extension – can be linked with other bridges to increase overall length

The Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge is New Zealand made and constructed from polyester reinforced PVC with external webbing grab lines, internal webbing safety lines, dual anchor and towing bridles and water ballast pockets for increased stability.

One of the key advantages of the solution is that it can be used in any number of real-life training scenarios at low cost, without the need for specialist servicing in between.

This means the Airport rescue team are able to deploy the Inflatable Bridge for training, whenever needed. Then, it’s simply a matter of re-packing the Bridge once the training exercise is completed, ready for its next use.

Proven Performance in the Field:
Steve Gibson, Auckland Airport, Crew Chief – Marine Reference, said the Bridge was an extremely useful tool in ensuring they were prepared for a variety of rescue scenarios.

“We’ve deployed the Bridge in a variety of rescue training exercises in the unique, and often challenging, areas which surround the Airport. That includes towing it across mud and mangrove surfaces and deploying it from a hovercraft. It’s proven more than capable for the task.”

Along with Auckland Airport and the New Zealand Police Maritime Unit, the Covertex Rescue Inflatable Bridge is also used by the NZ Coast Guard and Surf Lifesaving.

Learn more about the Covertex Inflatable Rescue Bridge.

Back to list