All flights at London Luton Airport have been suspended until 3pm on October 11, 2023, after a massive blaze caused the terminal parking garage to partially collapse.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to a fire involving a car on level three of the multi-story facility at 8.47pm on October 10. Fire crews were faced with a rapidly escalating fire and declared a major incident at 9.38pm. Flames spread rapidly through the structure and the severity of the fire has caused significant structural collapse. It is believed that up to 1,200 vehicles may have been in the car park at the time of the fire and subsequently damaged. Firefighting operations were undertaken to control the blaze and protect nearby buildings, vehicles, aircraft and the Luton DART. At its peak, there were 15 rescue pumps, three aerial appliances and over 100 firefighters on the scene.
Around 25,000 airline passengers are thought to have been affected by cancellations and delays. According to the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s 10am update, the response has been scaled back and this is no longer a major incident. Several agencies have been released from the scene. However, the fire service plans to continue to work with colleagues from the airport and police and will stay on the scene for the rest of the day.
Five casualties – one member of airport staff and four firefighters – were treated for smoke inhalation and have been discharged from hospital. An investigation into the cause of the fire will begin once it is safe to do so. There is still considerable congestion around the airport, so passengers have been advised to continue to avoid the area.
In an official statement, the airport said, “Emergency services remain on the scene following last night’s fire in Terminal Car Park 2. Our priority remains supporting the emergency services and the safety of our passengers and staff. We’re working hard to get the airport operational as soon as possible. All flights are currently suspended until 3pm on Wednesday, October 11. Passengers are advised not to travel to the airport at this time, as access remains severely restricted. Passengers should contact their airline for information regarding their flight.”
A spokesperson for Claims.co.uk said, “If you have booked a package holiday and your flights are canceled, you have the rights to either claim a full refund, a reroute of the trip destination and potentially compensation from the airline. However, in these specific circumstances, delays and cancellations caused by air traffic control restrictions are considered an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and therefore do not qualify for compensation. In cases of flight delays and flight cancellations due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, the airline must provide you with additional services, depending on the length of your delay and waiting time.
“These additional services include free meals and refreshments, which you are entitled to when your flight is delayed by at least two hours. Passengers should also receive free overnight accommodation and a transfer to and from the airport if the flight is shifted to the next day. If the delay lasts more than five hours but the flight is not actually canceled, you should also be able to choose not to travel and get a full refund on your ticket. If your flight cannot be rearranged, meaning your whole holiday must be canceled, then the travel company must offer an alternative holiday if possible, or a refund of the full package price, not just the flight part.”
To find out more about London Luton Airport’s latest developments, click here.