Fire forces Catania airport shut down until Wednesday, no serious injuries reported

Fire causes panic and fear among passengers at Catania airport • No one is seriously injured but airport remains closed until Wednesday • Air Malta flights disrupted

Catania airport had to be shut down after fire engulfed the arrivals area (Photo: La Sicilia)
Catania airport had to be shut down after fire engulfed the arrivals area (Photo: La Sicilia)

A fire engulfed the arrivals lounge at Catania’s Vincenzo Bellini airport on Sunday evening causing panic among passengers and forcing the terminal’s closure until Wednesday.

Italian media reported no serious injuries but some passengers received medical care after inhaling toxic fumes, while others were treated for shock.

SAC, the company operating the airport, announced later that all flights were suspended until 2pm on Wednesday 19 July until the terminal is declared safe to use.

The fire broke out in the arrivals lounge at the lower level of the airport terminal at around 11:30pm, according to La Sicilia, a regional newspaper.

The blaze caused thick black fumes inside the terminal, reducing visibility as security personnel shepherded panicked passengers out onto the road.

Fire fighters were immediately on site but it took them hours to put out the flames and even after the fire was controlled, the terminal remained engulfed in smoke.

La Sicilia reported that the fire may have started following a malfunction in an electricity board.

SAC wrote on Twitter that no persons were injured but announced the suspension of flights until 19 July.

The suspension comes at the height of the holiday season. At least two Malta-bound flights from Catania – Air Malta and Ita Airways - that had to arrive shortly after midnight in the early hours of Monday are now expected to arrive at Malta International Airport at 7:30pm.

However, the MIA website shows that the Air Malta flight from Catania expected to arrive at 5:40pm has been cancelled.

All Air Malta and Ita Airways flights from MIA to Catania have also been cancelled.