21 Oct 2008

Wellington airport reopens after fire

6:11 am on 21 October 2008

Wellington international airport has reopened after a fire in a ceiling caused by an electrical fault forced the evacuation of the terminal.

Several hundred passengers had to wait outside the building for more than an hour and a half on Monday afternoon while fire crews contained the fire.

The fire, which started about 2pm, caused minimal damage.

Sixteen domestic flights and two international flights were disrupted during the closure. The backlog is being cleared.

Meanwhile, Qantas, which is reeling from a string of safety scares, said the fire had nothing to do with the airline.

Fire Service spokesperson Scott Sargentina said the blaze, caused by an electrical fault, broke out above a cafe near an escalator leading to the Qantas lounge.

Its proximity to the escalator was probably the reason that early media reports said the fire had occurred in the Qantas lounge, he said.

"It has got nothing to do with Qantas ... There certainly was no fire at any Qantas facility," a Qantas spokesperson said.