Alicante-Elche Airport (ALC) has reopened this morning, January 21, at 5:00 a.m. following a fire and severe storm.
It has not been a particularly good week for holidaymakers looking to spend time on Spain’s Costa Blanca after the region’s main airport was forced to close, first for a fire and then a violent storm.
Flights to Alicante had to be diverted
On Wednesday, January 15th, 2020, a fire broke out in the terminal at around 14:30, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of passengers and airport staff.
Flights to and from the airport were canceled with aircraft already in the air diverted to Valencia Manises Airport (VLC) and Región de Murcia International Airport (RMU) near the village of Corvera.
With smoke billowing from the roof of the terminal building, the fire looked much worse than it was. It was extinguished by the local fire brigade 30 minutes after arriving on the scene.
While no official word has been given as to how the fire started, speculation is suggesting that it broke out in an upper floor office and spread to the roof. Luckily for passengers already at the airport waiting to board flights, service was resumed after an hour and a half’s delay.
An investigation is now underway as to how the fire started and how they would go about repairing the damage to the roof.
Alicante Airport was shut down due to a severe storm
The national weather service, AEMET issued a red alert for the region over the weekend that once more impacted Alicante-Elche Airport.
Following the alert for heavy rain, snow, and winds gusting up to 136 kph (84mph), the airport operator Aena sided with caution, announcing that all flights in and out of Alicante would be canceled on Monday.
“Due to the effects that the storm Gloria could have on the areas affected by the fire last week, the airport will remain closed until tomorrow at 1 pm.”
The closure of the airport affected over 200 flights, with many of them being rerouted to Murcia due to Alicante Airport being closed.
Passengers were taken by bus to Alicante from Murcia
“Your flight will be diverting to Murcia airport. This is due to strong winds predicted over Alicante Airport, which could affect the airport structure due to recent fires and has caused the airport to close for 24 hours.
“We will be continuing your journey via road. We are arranging onward transport to Alicante. Due to the airport closure, we will be unable to take the coaches to Alicante airport so will be ending your coach journey in Alicante city center.
“Once arriving, please make your own way to your final destination and keep any receipts to claim expenses with our customer services team. Apologies for the inconvenience this may cause. The disruption to your flight is beyond our control and is considered an extraordinary circumstance.”
Alicante Airport operator Aena issued an advisory last night on Twitter saying:
ℹ️ ℹ️ #Actualización
⚠️ ⚠️ 📲 Muy importante: consulta con tu compañía aérea el estado de tu vuelo.
— Aena (@aena) January 20, 2020
⚠️📲 Important: please, check the status of your flight with your airline.
— Aena (@aena) January 20, 2020
Living just 35 minutes from Alicante Airport, I can confirm that storm “Gloria” was as bad as predicted, with heavy rainfall and strong winds.
Along the coast, record-breaking waves of over 26 feet were recorded, while inland several towns and villages were cut off by snow.
Alicante Airport, however, is now open and while it is still raining flights are operating normally.
Alicante-Elche Airport is the 5th largest in Spain by numbers handling over 15 million passengers in 2019.