British holidaymakers travelling to and from the Costa Blanca faced a second day of chaos as a large fire saw the continued closure of Alicante airport today.
Alicante–Elche Airport is expected to remain closed till at least 2pm, after the fire broke out in the roof of the busy aviation hub in Spain yesterday.
Hundreds of passengers and staff were evacuated and flights cancelled, with the disruption expected to continue as firefighters struggle to extinguish the fire.
More than 50 firefighters are still working on the blaze which was still raging this morning. One of the crews at the airport said it had been a ‘long night’.
The delay in putting out the fire, which officials say is under control, has been blamed on access problems and the ‘slow-burning’ roof material.
An airport spokesman told travellers not to go to the airport – which is the fifth busiest in Spain – but to contact their airline for updates.
Yesterday dramatic footage showed flames and thick black smoke at Alicante-Elche while pictures also showed passengers filing out of the building.
Firefighters were called battle the blaze which is thought to have originated inside an office in the terminal building, at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Dozens of flights were cancelled yesterday as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze at Alicante airport
More than 60 of the 125 flights scheduled to and from the airport on Wednesday were affected.
Around half the 31 flights scheduled to depart from the airport are thought to have been cancelled, with passengers on another 14 taken by bus to nearby airports in Murcia and Valencia so they could fly from there instead.
More than 20 incoming flights were diverted to Murcia and Valencia and ten were cancelled before take-off.
‘It’s a joke now been outside 2.5 hours… [the] coordination of information [is] terrible,’ Tracy Cartland-Ward, 53, who was in Alicante as part of a business course, told MailOnline yesterday.
‘Some people have left but my baggage was already checked in. Sadly for some folks it’s getting difficult with no water or drinks, no toilets and Costa coffee even putting tables on outside seats to stop people sitting!
The fire is believed to have started in the roof of the airport – which is the fifth busiest in Spain
Smoke can be seen billowing from the roof of Alicante airport after a fire started in the terminal building on Wednesday
‘Oh and to add insult to injury most Ryanair passengers sent a 4 euro voucher for snacks – issuable inside the airport which they can’t get into.’
She added that Ryanair has texted passengers to tell them of a possible seven-hour delay and that the airline staff on the ground had been giving out mixed information.
She said that someone told her the airport could be closed for one or two days.
Cameron Stocks, 26, a barrister at Hardwicke Law in London, who was visiting family in Alicante this week, told MailOnline yesterday: ‘We haven’t been allowed back in yet. We have been told there is a 2/3 hour wait to see if the fire is controllable and then we will be told if flights can depart today.’
A view from the car park shows dense smoke rising from the airport building in Alicante on Wednesday
Firefighters work at Alicante-Elche airport today in Alicante after a fire erupted in the terminal
‘There are now a substantial number of police and fire brigade keeping everyone back from the terminal but information is disseminated slowly,’ he said.
‘There was a lot of confusion to begin with as my group had already passed passport control and were due to board so we were simply herded into a corner.’
Earlier on Twitter he wrote: ‘Airport staff are acting nonchalant and have simply herded passengers into a corner of the terminal without a single alarm going off.’
A video posted by Twitter user @sotiridi shows columns of dense smoke filling the sky over the airport. Another, taken by the same person, shows the thick clouds and crackling fires erupting from the roof of the terminal.
Pictured: Flames and smoke billowing outside the window of the terminal in Alicante on Wednesday
Passengers are evacuated at Alicante-Elche airport in Alicante after a fire erupted in the terminal