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Airport departure terminal reopens after fire, investigation continues

Wednesday 17 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Airport departure terminal reopens  after fire, investigation continues
The airport terminal roof repair was completed on Saturday. MELINA ETCHES/23051518

The Rarotonga International Airport departure terminal was back in full swing on Monday including the re-opening of the duty-free shops, since the roof fire which broke out on Wednesday last week.

Airport Authority chief executive officer Nikau Tangaroa said: “The processing of departing passengers was back to normal with the exception of Immigration who continued with the manual processing of passengers.”

Tangaroa said investigation into the cause of the fire is yet to be completed. A report will be readily available next week, he said.

The local insurance assessor carried out the onsite assessment on the day the fire broke and the following day – “so far the cost of the damages has not been provided by the insurer”.

Tangaroa said Landholdings Ltd was able to commence the repair work to the ceiling and the roof as a result of the completion of the onsite assessment by both the Fire Service and the assessor.

Repair works to the damaged roof caused by the blaze began on Friday and completed on Saturday for the partial reopening of the terminal that afternoon.

Due to safety issues in relation to electrical, the duty-free shops were closed, says Tangaroa. The Immigration area, the airline gates and the café reopened on Saturday afternoon.

The solar panels on the northern side of the roof were completely removed last Thursday as a safety measure after an agreement had been made between the Airport Authority and the concessionaire of the solar panels.

“We will wait for the reports from the Rescue Fire (including the electrical report) and insurance assessor to understand the cause of the fire,” said Tangaroa.