*** Updated 16th December 2020 11:36
A fire broke out on the roof of a terminal in Alicante airport, Spain, at around 2:30pm on 15 January 2020. More than 2,000 passengers were evacuated.
Firefighters were called to the airport to control the blaze and there have been no reports of any injuries or casualties. However, the cause of the fire remains unknown.
Inbound flights were diverted to nearby airports in Valencia and Murcia, causing delays and disruption to outbound flights. The airport remains closed, and several more departures have now been cancelled since the last flight that took off on Wednesday at 4.05pm.
Ryanair has cancelled a number of flights from UK airports and Alicante whilst grounding round trips from Edinburgh, Gatwick, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Stanstead. easyJet has also cancelled its morning departure from Southend, whilst Jet2 and Vueling have cancelled round trips from Birmingham and Cardiff, according to The Independent.
The airport operator AENA released a tweet via social media platform, Twitter stating the airport ‘will not be operational until 12:00 AM on January 16. Please do not go to the airport and contact your airline.’ The airport has since stated that it will remain closed until 2pm local time (1pm GMT).
Passengers due to travel to or from Alicante can check the status of their flight on the Alicante Airport website or directly with their airline.
In the event of a delay or cancellation, the airline has a duty of care to rebook passengers on to alternative flights. If an earlier flight is available with another airline, passengers should be offered this option at no expense to themselves. If the flight has been diverted to either Murcia or Valencia, the airline will also be responsible for providing transport to the alternative airport.
Passengers hoping to claim compensation will need to speak to their travel insurance provider. If the policy offers cover for “departure delay” then passengers will be entitled to claim a small amount of compensation. Eligibility and amounts will differ between policies, but generally speaking most travel insurers will pay out compensation for each 12-hour block passengers are delayed.
Due to the reason behind the delays and cancellations, the airline will not be obligated to pay compensation to passengers. Under the Civil Aviation Authority’s rulings, a fire at an airport is classed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ (an event which is out of the airlines control i.e. adverse weather, air traffic control strikes, etc).