Catania airport fire damages tourist season in Sicily

The fire at Catania airport

 ROME - - The fire at Vincenzo Bellini airport on July 16 means Catania airport is not set to get back to full working capacity until July 24, airport authorities report.

 The airport’s reopening, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to a need for further investigations, according to the airport’s management. 

 Consequently, tourism in Sicily has crashed with passengers forced to use temporary tensile structures. 

 The airport management has said there will be no flights from Thursday until Sunday of this week. 

 After the fire, which occurred in Terminal A of the airport, Catania fire brigade explained: "From the inspection carried out yesterday [July 18] together with personnel from the Fire Investigation Unit of the Regional Directorate of the Fire Brigade for Sicily on the premises affected by the fire at Catania airport, it emerged that further technical and instrumental investigations were needed.”

 This was articulated in a note from the provincial command. 

 “The investigations will continue in conjunction with the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Prefecture,” the note added.

 "The silence surrounding the closure of Catania airport from the management and regional and national politicians is unacceptable. Still, there is no certain news about the reopening of the important Sicilian airport," said the mayor of Taormina and leader of Sud chiama Nord, Cateno De Luca. 

 “Moreover, someone should explain how a simple short-circuit can cause a fire without triggering the necessary measures to stem the flames in time and limit the damage. The company that manages the airport I imagine,” De Luca adds, “has its own emergency plan to handle situations like this. 

 “I want to give the Board of Directors, led by CEO Domenico Torrisi, a shocking piece of news: emergency plans are drawn up not to give assignments to friends, but to put in place at the time of need a reaction plan in the face of difficult factors that will make it possible to overcome possible inefficiencies,” he concluded. 

 President of Sicily, Renato Schifani, remarked that the incident has caused “damage to the island.”

 Mayor of Palermo, Roberto Lagalla, has explored the idea of using Sigonella military airport to try to alleviate the current emergency.