** Update: 07/23/20 @ 10:30 UTC – a spokesperson from Liege Airport shared some photographs from the fire – included below. **
A massive fire broke out at Liege Airport, Belgium, last night in the hangar of the Aeroservices company. The blaze broke out near to the airport terminal at 22:00 local time (20:00 UTC) and took approximately two hours to contain. Flight operations to and from the airport were halted for a short time. There have been no reports of damage to aircraft or injuries to personnel from the fire.
Local media reported that the fire broke out late last night in the B30 facility, situated between the passenger terminal and the airport’s petrol facilities. This facility houses the Aéroservices and Western Global companies, consisting mainly of offices and equipment.
🔴 Un incendie est en cours à l’aéroport de Liège ce mercredi soir.
▫️Plusieurs camions de pompiers sont sur place. L’incendie toucherait un emplacement de parking d’avion situé à côté du terminal de l’aéroport.
— air plus news (@airplusnews) July 22, 2020
Fire services from both the airport and the city of Liege attended the scene and managed to get the fire under control within several hours. The airport confirmed that no people had been hurt in the fire. The blaze, which could be seen from the motorway, did not generate any harmful fumes, and the hotel near the airport did not have to be evacuated.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
However, the smoke did cause some problems for landing aircraft. Three planes were diverted, including an ASL Airlines Belgium flight from Berlin and a Bluebird Nordic Boeing 737-400 that departed from Vienna. Both flights were able to land safely at Brussels Airport. Flights resumed soon after the fire services had the situation under control.
Local media have reported that the damage caused by the blaze is significant. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
Visit from the king
Liege Airport is located five nautical miles west of the city of Liege, Belgium. This little-known airport is the 7th biggest cargo hub in Europe! The airport recently made a name for itself when it was chosen by the World Health Organisation to act as a hub for the distribution of medical supplies for Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic. So far, over a billion masks have been distributed via the airport!
Its crucial role in ensuring that Europe received much needed medical equipment recently earnt it a visit from King Philippe of Belgium. The sovereign, who himself trained as a helicopter pilot at Liege Airport, visited the airport on July 9th to thank staff and keyworkers for their role in battling the pandemic.
After visiting the Cargo Nord area and the FedEx distribution premises, the king ended the visit by holding a roundtable with mangers from several companies and institutions. These groups have been involved in fighting the pandemic on the logistics front and included ASL Airlines Belgium, Swissport, FedEx, Alibaba group, and customs authorities.
Passenger flights only just opened
While Belgium’s largest cargo hub has remained very active in receiving and distributing supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, passenger services only resumed last week. TUI fly Belgium is the only passenger airline operating from Liege Airport, and its passenger flights resumed on July 17th.
The carrier offers flights to 11 destinations in four countries; Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Morroco. The resumption of flights from Liege is good news for the airline, which has been forced to cancel many of its routes this summer due to COVID-19.
Liege Airport has reorganized its terminal to accommodate new safety measures for passengers. Aside from wearing a mask and ensuring social distancing, only those traveling are allowed inside the terminal.
What do you think about the fire at Liege Airport? Let us know in the comments.