Fire in Miami Slaps Airlines With Delays

A major fire at Miami International Airport disrupted operations on Thursday, and officials are unsure when they will return to normal.

The airport is a major hub for American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) flights, and the company said it expected “significant cancelations and delays of flights out of and into Miami.”

Of flights that were operating, American Airlines said it was experiencing slow fueling and delays related to the temporary use of tanker trucks. American was also planning on making intermediate fuel stops at other airports prior to continuing on to the ultimate destination.

The fuel farm, which supplies fuel to all aircrafts at the Miami airport, suffered a major fire at approximately 11 p.m. EST Wednesday when fuel tank pumps caught fire because of an undetermined malfunction.

Some 40 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene and extinguished the fire at 1:20 a.m. Thursday, but not before it caused severe damage to the airport’s fueling operations.

The fueling has been limited to tanker trucks, which takes twice as much time, until underground hydrant fueling can be restored.

American did not say whether it expected the issue to go through the weekend but the airport said in a statement that it anticipated significant delays and some cancellations “at least through Thursday.”

The fueling operation must be fully inspected and debris cleared. The power supply to the pumping system in inoperative and will require repair or generator power.

While fuel on hand has been inspected and cleared, the airport said there is only enough to supply fuel to aircrafts for at least four days. Miami had expected its fuel farm operator, Allied Aviation, to restore some capacity to its hydrant fueling on Thursday, though it remains unknown when full operations will resume.