Alicante airport fire: is the airport still closed, and what's the latest advice on flights and departures after disruption

A fire at Alicante Airport caused travel disruption for thousands of travellers, with around 2,000 people evacuated from the Spanish airport on 15 January) after a blaze broke out on the roof.

Here's everything you need to know about the situation:

What happened?

Airport operator AENA tweeted: "For security reasons the airport terminal is being evacuated away from Alicante-Elche due to a fire on the deck."

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AENA then confirmed that flights would be diverted to Valencia and Murcia airports, before announcing mass cancellations a few hours later.

The operator later said firefighters had been tackling the fire and had the flames under control and the airport was being ventilated.

Authorities are still not sure what caused the fire to break out, though Spanish officials have confirmed no-one was injured.

What's the official travel advice?

If you travel itinerary contains travel to or from Alicante, the best course of action is to "consult your airline" to see if plans have been changed.

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"Consult your airline to find out if they have cancelled your flight or are operating it from an alternative airport," was the official advice from the airport authority earlier in the week, “we are coordinating the operation with airlines."

Cancellations at the fifth-busiest airport in Spain were taking place, but the terminal was able to resume in the afternoon of 16 January after the fire was extinguished.

When will the airport be open again?

The airport was expected to be reopened around midday on 16 January, though normal service wasn't resumed until slightly later than that target.

Firefighters battled through the night to put out the large blaze in the roof, and the delay in putting out flames was blamed on access problems and the slow-burning roof material.

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The fire at Alicante isn't the first travel disruption to hit the region over the past 12 months.

Heavy rains and flooding hit the area in September 2019, leaving three people dead after their cars got trapped in the water.

What are my rights if my flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled you usually have a legal right to either a full refund within seven days or a replacement flight.

However, if the flight was cancelled due due to reasons beyond the airlines control, such as an act of terrorism, a volcanic eruption, a strike or extreme weather, the airline is not obliged to compensate you.

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Which? says some some airlines stretch the definition of the extraordinary circumstances that won't permit them to fly. If, for example, are told the flight is due to weather conditions, but other airlines are departing, you may be able to challenge the airline.

If your flight is cancelled, you may be able to claim for food and drink at the airport on your travel insurance.

Airlines should give passengers food, drinks and two phone calls for delays of more than two hours. If the delay is overnight, hotel accommodation and transfers should be provided.