Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hangar fire in Abu Dhabi destroys aircraft

hangar fireA fire in a maintenance hangar at Abu Dhabi destroyed a Qatar Airways Airbus A300-600 aircraft last week. The hangar belongs to the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO).

Details about the fire and its consequences were slow to emerge. An early report in the Khaleej Times said that the fire was brought quickly under control, the hangar was evacuated, and that no one was injured. An article on added that the fire had started on board an aircraft that was parked at the maintenance facility.

On April 20, the day after the fire, reported that the fire had started on an Airbus A300 belonging to Qatar Airways, and that at least two other aircraft had been damaged as well. One was an Air Mauritius A319 that had been parked in the hangar next to the Qatar Airways A300; the other was an A320 leased by India's Kingfisher Airlines.

UPDATE April 23, 2007:  Today published a follow-up story that includes several pictures from the scene, one of which is displayed above. It is obvious from the photos that the A300 was completely destroyed by the fire. Here is some of what has to say:
Information emerging from Abu Dhabi shows that the fire, initially claimed to have been brief and contained, was far worse than authorities had been prepared to admit.

Almost the entire upper fuselage, from just behind the wing box to a point aft of the flight deck, has been burned through to the crown. Structural failure has resulted in the empennage of the A300 dropping to the hangar floor.

A Gamco source says the whole cabin has been gutted by the blaze and claims that the fire took between one and two hours to extinguish – adding that, although there were no fatalities, an engineer was seriously hurt after jumping from the A300.

Images obtained by FlightGlobal show that authorities have attempted to de-identify the jet by painting over the Qatar Airways logo on the tail fin.

The source says: "They didn't have to bother with the name on the fuselage as it had been completely burned away."'s source confirmed damage to the Kingfisher and Air Mauritius jets, and mentioned that at least three more aircraft in the hangar at the time of the fire were not damaged.

The hangar itself reportedly was not damaged as the fire was confined to the aircraft. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

[Photo Source]