Fire At MIA Continues To Cause Flight Cancelations And Delays


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Fire At MIA Continues To Cause Flight Cancelations And Delays

By Mike Mitchell

March 26, 2011 - Flights at Miami International Airport (MIA) continue to be delayed or canceled in the aftermath of Wednesday night's massive fuel tank fire on the southeast side of the airport.  

Over 100 fire crews battled the flames into the early morning hours of Thursday that broke out at the airport's aircraft fuel farm. Airport officials reported the fire may have been triggered by an electrical short. 

The tank farm stores more than half of the airports jet fuel, includes six fuel tanks which stores about eight million gallons of fuel. The airports southeast farm which includes 14 pumps is capable of pumping out 2,000 gallons of fuel per hour.

Miami International Airport receives about 55,000 barrels of jet fuel each day from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale through an underground pipeline known as the Everglades Pipeline.

Fire officials believe the pipeline did not encounter any damage. However there was major damage to the hydrant fuel farms pumps which forced the airlines to rely on fuel trucks to fuel the aircraft which takes twice as long. Its believed that the pump system is a total loss and that it may take several months to replace.

"We've got a plan in place that will have near to normal operations early next week, and we'll have to live with that for awhile, until we're able to fully replace the system, which will take a few months," said MIA Spokesman Greg Chin.

The fire at the airport has caused thousands of stranded passengers waiting to fly out resulting in a large number of passengers being forced to sleep at the airport. This weekend is a busy tourism weekend for south Florida. As a number events have been scheduled for the Miami area which will include the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament and the Ultra Music Festival, which is sold out.

American Airlines operates 70 percent of all flights in and out of the airport which represents about 300 flights per day. As a result of the fire American Airlines has canceled over 400 flights.

American Airlines reported that due to the fire that has severely affected aircraft fueling capabilities at MIA, American Airlines will offer its customers the ability to change their travel plans. Passengers are being advised to check gates and times online, sign up for flight status alerts and calls to reservations may involve lengthy hold times.

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