All flights at London Luton Airport have been suspended until at least 3pm today (Wednesday) following a large fire in one of its car parks.
Firefighters and an airport official were among five people taken to hospital for smoke inhalation as emergency services battled to control the blaze at the newly refurbished Terminal 2 Car Park, which broke out at around 8.30pm last night.
“Emergency services remain on the scene following last night’s fire at Terminal 2 Car Park,” the airport said in a statement this morning.
“Our priority remains supporting emergency services and the safety of our passengers and staff. Therefore we have now taken the decision to suspend all flights until 3pm on Wednesday 11 October
“Passengers are advised not to travel to the airport at this time, as access remains severely restricted.”
The incident has already had a major impact on services. Last night 23 incoming flights were diverted, with aircraft forced to land at Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff and Manchester. A further ten flights, some waiting to take off, were cancelled.
This morning another 85 flights are due to depart. Adding in scheduled arrivals, a total of 170 flights could be affected today, hitting the travel plans of around 27,000 passengers.
An easyJet holidays spokesperson said the operator was ‘working hard’ to minimise the impact on customers and was contacting them with options.
“Due to the ongoing closure, we’re looking at alternative travel options for our customers due to depart on their package holiday from Luton Airport today.”
EasyJet, Wizz Air and Ryanair are advising customers potentailly affected by the fire to keep checking online.
An easyJet spokesman said: “Due to the ongoing closure of Luton airport our flights from Luton are currently unable to operate as planned.
“We are doing all possible to minimise the impact on our customers, providing those on cancelled flights with options to rebook or receive a refund, as well as providing hotel accommodation and meals where required.
“We advise all passengers due to fly with us from Luton to check the status of their flights on Flight Tracker for real-time information. “
Ryainair and Wizz Air said they was contacting passengers by email and text messages. Ryanair added that its app was being updated with the latest information, while Wizz urged passengers booked via the trade to contact their travel agent.
Fifteen fire engines from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to tackle the blaze and were on scene all night. The three-storey car park suffered a partial collapse and continued to burn fiercely. It is believed up to 1,200 vehicles may be inside the car park.
One video on social media appeared to show a burning Range Rover as the cause of the blaze.
In a statement on X/Twitter, the fire service said: “We have 15 fire appliances, and three specialist aerial appliances from across the county and surrounding counties in attendance and this has been declared a major incident.
“One half of the structure is fully involved in fire and the building has suffered a significant structural collapse.
“Fire crews are working to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjacent buildings and vehicles on air side of the airport.
“Police and ambulance are in attendance. Local residents are advised to close windows and doors and avoid the area.”
Bus services to the airport are also being affected. Arriva Beds and Bucks said its Services A and 100 were operating as far as Vauxhall, terminating at Luton bound stop on Kimpton Rd.