Rome's Fiumicino airport set to reopen after overnight fire

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ROME (AP) — Italy's busiest airport was set to reopen by midday Thursday after being closed by a fire overnight in the international terminal, officials said.

The first flights from Rome's Fiumicino international will begin departing around noon (1000 GMT), two hours earlier than expected, with a gradual return to normal flight schedules, the airport said in a statement. Arrivals will be limited to just a few an hour.

Italy's flagship Alitalia airline said it would resume departures at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT). Passengers affected have the right to change their reservation or request a reimbursement, the airline said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. It broke out after midnight in a retail area of the international terminal and was brought under control around seven hours later. No injuries were reported

Images broadcast on Sky TG24 showed part of the international terminal engulfed in flames overnight, and by morning the burnt-out facade of part of the terminal was evident from outside. Smoke was still coming from the building hours after the flames were doused.

Damage to the terminal was extensive, and officials from Italy's civil aviation authority ENAC were working to determine how to reroute flights to the other terminals and airports.

The fire involved about 400 square meters (more than 4,000 square feet) of retail space, the news agency ANSA said. There was no obvious damage to the security gates inside the airport, according to SKY TG24 images.