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Fire at FCO Terminal 3

Italian press is reporting a major fire at FCO Terminal 3 but I don’t yet see anything on US news sites. It will be interesting to see what impact that will have on international arrvials/departures and for how long. US Airways is showing it's flight from Rome today cancelled. Google "Il Messaggero" for news reports (only in Italian but pictures tell the story).

Posted by
74 posts

Hope this will clear up by next week. We leave next Friday. I'll try googling the fire to see if I can get any further info.. and call USAir. Thanks for the info Frank

Posted by
74 posts

Just found this - "Aeroporti di Roma does not recommend to all passengers to travel to the airport," the operator said in a statement.
At 8am local time, however, the company said that, thanks to the work of firefighters and law enforcement, the airport was gradually reopening to air traffic.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire which, according to initial reports, broke out in an underground baggage storage area. Some eyewitnesses, however, told Ansa news agency they believed the flames originated from a restaurant inside the terminal.
Authorities said it will take a few days for all airport activities to get back to normal. Main roads accessing the hub were also closed to allow emergency services vehicles to pass.

Posted by
506 posts

Thanks to all that keep these news items available. There is already such confusion over terminal 3 and 5, we leave next week and I am sure they are not going to close their whole main airport for days (I sure hope not), unfortunately it probably will be more confusing now than it already was.

Posted by
11613 posts

Thanks, I leave tomorrow. Oh, well, travel is an adventure.

Posted by
3112 posts

ADR website reports that as of 14:30 local time flight operations have been resumed and are gradually getting back on schedule. Sounds like they've found a work-around, but it might mean a temporary change in arrival/departure flows for passengers as the article in Il Messaggero mentioned that some of the customs booths were affected.

Posted by
20834 posts

Judy and others - Remember Terminal 5 is only a processing terminal for international flights departing directly from Rome. There are no boarding gates. So Terminal 5 cannot be used for anything else. I think the only choices are Terminal 1 or 3. For some reason I don't there is a 2.

Posted by
31140 posts

Frank,

This is not good news! FCO is usually a bit chaotic at the best of times, so this certainly won't help. Given the importance of the airport and the fact that tourist season is going to be at a peak soon, I suspect the authorities will expedite repairs and get passenger flows back to normal while the full repairs take place.

I image the first step will be to transfer as many passengers to Terminals 1 & 2, and perhaps even 5? As I recall, I've used Terminal 2 for easyJet departures in the past. Here's the layout for those that are interested......

https://www.adr.it/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=0beecc52-50cc-4df6-9d61-6ee8856f5cad&groupId=10157

Posted by
4357 posts

Whooooooa!

I was thinking 'a fire in a restaurant kitchen; no biggie'. Those pictures from Jeff tell a different story. I can't believe they can be up and running in a few days, but I suppose what choice do they have? I'm glad my luggage wasn't in there :-(

Judy, if you haven't already perused Ron in Rome's website, here is a very good tutorial on how to navigate Terminal 5, etc., on your departure flight on a US-flagged carrier. (I'll also send it to her in a PM to be sure she sees it before her trip.)

Wow, Frank - THANK YOU for starting this thread! I can't find anything on it on TV...even BBC is a little busy with the elections and all of the other fun-n-games going on in the world. Thanks also to everyone who posted links to maps, diagrams, photos, etc.

If possible, perhaps those traveling in the next few weeks and months could post here about their experiences both arriving and departing. I expect more bussing to and from airplanes for awhile. Good luck...

Posted by
506 posts

Thanks Eileen for Ron in Rome, that is a great visual, but of course Ha Ha now that may not be exactly the same past the T5 experience. I just wonder if leaving Rome via Private car at 7AM is plenty of time for a 10:50 flight? Also thanks Frank for all your information too!

Posted by
635 posts

If possible, perhaps those traveling in the next few weeks and months could post here about their experiences both arriving and departing. I expect more bussing to and from airplanes for awhile. Good luck..

I'll be there on the 26th of this month, and will post a report when able.

Posted by
11613 posts

I will be there on Saturday, I will let everyone know.

Posted by
4357 posts

Judy, I think I myself would leave at 7:00. I know it seems really early...but FCO is not the most, ummmm, 'efficient' place on a good day. Should you get to your gate crazy early, there's always time for breakfast, lunch, a little shopping...and just being glad you're not sweaty, panicked, and running through the terminal :-(

Checking in at the airline desk is never terribly quick, but at FCO your agent may be chatting with his pal on his cellphone while checking you in for your flight. If checking luggage, check the code on the luggage tag s/he puts on your bags!.

Thanks, Jeff and Zoe, for your future reports. I hope it's all smooth sailing!

Posted by
74 posts

Zoe, I'll be flying in Saturday also. The photos are just terrible. I don't see how it will be cleared up by then but I guess we'll find out. I wonder if there'll be changes to our flights. Glad I got the flight insurance. btw, I contacted Ron to see if he can find out anything else but haven't heard back yet. I mentioned so many on here are flying in this week. It would be nice if he could respond here. Keep in touch, hope and pray you have a pleasant no problem trip.

Posted by
1622 posts

Delta seems to indicate it's flights are still on schedule. Here's their advisory

"Due to a fire in the transit area at the Roma Fuimicino airport Terminal 3, passengers should expect delays in check-in, arrival and connections for the next few days.

Departing passengers should arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight to allow time for check-in.

We apologize for any inconvenience."

Posted by
74 posts

Just heard from Ron in Rome - they are already receiving and sending flights from T3 this AM. Air Canada announced a one-day "free" change for travelers for yesterday. A couple smaller airlines followed... but the US planes generally come into the G gates- which is a SATELLITE terminal far from the T3 concourse...

You would do passport control in T3 and pick up your luggage there... but it appears they have worked out a solution as NO carrier has sent out alerts today.

Still anxious to hear back from someone that's flying in now or in next few days. I think I read Balfor who does major disaster clean up is being brought in.

Posted by
74 posts

Another update from Ron -

And of course, no sooner do I say that when Alitalia issues a late-alert.
They are moving ALL their operations to T1 and ecouraging other airlines to do the same... That is not a good sign.

So it appears that you will come into Gate G, and either go through a revised T3 or clear immigration/baggage in T1. No US Airliners have issued cancellation alerts but with this news (and I am watching local Italian TV here in Austria...) I think you can expect delays when you arrive next week ---

AT LEAST YOU'RE not leaving next week... Coming is probably better than going as they can do a work-around The biggest challenge is passport control and your baggage.

All the stores beyond the security gates in the T3 terminal are reported to have been impacted. Looking at the images on TV, this will be a mess for 6-8 months! And since the Pope proclaimed a Jubilee this year (Dec. 8) ... it will be interesting to see how Italy pays for and rebuilds this..... It generally takes them months just to make a decision to START the work

Alitalia is reporting they have reduced their flights by 50% - no one else is claiming these numbers but this is their "home" airport. Delta has an alert up but is not posting any interruptions (yet!). I would simply continue to check with your carrier.

Good luck,
Ron

Posted by
635 posts

The biggest challenge is passport control and your baggage.

Sounds like a good reason to travel with carry-ons only, if at all possible.

Posted by
11852 posts

Hmmm, the Fiumicino's website has this to say today:
https://www.adr.it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en-/azn-news/-/news/P0rw/6247267

"Aeroporti di Roma communicates that, from this morning, the world leader in disaster recovery Belfor is operating in the areas affected by yesterday fire. Belfor, whose technicians will work round-the-clock, has begun the reclaiming and recovering operations for all the area stricken by the fire and by the consequent smoke, starting from air conditioning systems. Subsequently, the damaged structures will be removed. This intervention will make it possible to re-open the Terminal 3 Boarding Area D to passengers within one week. 250 flights have been operated since this morning."

Posted by
333 posts

Frank

Thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention. Our family of 6 will also be arriving in Roma from phl on Saturday 9 May and I just heard back from Romashuttle saying there would be no changes to our arrival and pick up. Apparently there was an electrical fire in an area of restoration, but it seems to have spread quickly. We are not flying out via FCO but it seems there will be delays outward bound.

Posted by
328 posts

This is has been a very helpful thread. We arrived into FCO just 3 hours before the fire happened on Wednesday ... talk about a close call. We leave on an Air Canada flight to Toronto this Tuesday, May 12th with only carry on luggage. I've been reading everyone's comments and we have decided it would be a good idea to arrive at the airport 3 hours early instead of 2, as we had originally planned. If anyone who knows the situation/airport better thinks we should give ourselves more time, I would appreciate any advice.

Posted by
172 posts

Hi everyone,
We are flying out of FCO tomorrow. I will post my experience.
Not sure what to expect. We booked through Delta but the flight is Alitalia 10:35am to JFK.
Have received no communications from either carrier. Not sure which terminal to show up at.
I thought 5 was for US carriers, I thought 1 was all Alitalia and I though I saw that the same flight number for today left from 3. So......
Cannot check in through the computer or mobile app, so no boarding passes ahead of time.
Any thoughts welcome. Have not been able to get through to any airline. Plan to arrive at FCO 6:30am. Hope there's cappuccino.

Posted by
4357 posts

For FCO, I'd arrive 3 hours before my departure on a GOOD day; I'd arrive even earlier while they're still sorting this mess out. But that's me; YMMV.

Thanks for all of the updates, Everyone!

Posted by
4357 posts

Carolyn, I thought Ron says that Alitalia departs from G just like the US-flagged carriers when flying to the US, but I could be wrong. Please check the link in my earlier post concerning Terminal 5...As for those Alitalia flights also going through check-in at Terminal 5, double-check that, too. I'm sorry - I'm unable to check it myself right now :-(

Of course, who knows for sure from one day to the next right now...

EDIT Der - Carolyn is hopefully already waiting at her gate. I need to pay better attention to the details ;-) I hope she's OK!

Posted by
172 posts

Dear fellow Italy travelers,
Arrived 6:30am for 10:35 am flight. Started at terminal 3. Right away you could smell the odor from the fire. There was a long line at some desks but I didn't see our flight listed on departures. I was able to quickly ask the information desk about my flight and was directed to terminal 1. In terminal 1, Alitalia has rows of checkin booths for their U.S. Bound flights and you head to that area. Well it took less than 20 minutes to check 2 bags, go through security and get those first and sadly last cappuccinos in Italy this trip. We are at the gate and waiting, everything looks on time. From what I could understand terminal 5 is U.S. carriers flying directly to US. FCO is confusing. Now in terminal 1, lots of lines as the morning had gone on. Safe travels. Thanks for all the feedback

Posted by
11613 posts

I am currently at Schiphol, waiting to board Alitalia flight to FCO. and then comNtinue to Palermo. My flights have been rescheduled/delayed twice so far.

Posted by
74 posts

sounds like things are getting back to normal according to Fiumicino Airport but waiting to hear back from those here that are traveling -
FIUMICINO AIRPORT OPERATIVITY

11:00 a.m. ADR: Airport progressively back to normal operations. Yesterday 82% of flights scheduled before the fire were operated. Early this morning, one access to T3 was reopened to reach boarding areas G and H dedicated to international flights.

Posted by
497 posts

Boston to Rome Sunday night was cancelled. Yet their website showing otherwise.

Posted by
497 posts

Frank I saw nothing on U.S. news either. It was a horrible fire.
It will take several days for them to reschedule everything.

Posted by
843 posts

I heard a blurb about it during the news update section of Morning Edition. Figured if they were reporting on it, had to be relatively serious, but I did not imagine anything as serious as those pictures. Looks like things are slowly recovering.

Posted by
2 posts

Here's my experience of the FCO fire, sorry it's a few days late. My wife and I flew from Washington, DC and landed at FCO at 0842 Thursday morning, 07 May. The fire in T3 was still smoldering. Initially, they considered diverting to Milan or Geneva, but decided to let us land. No jetways of course, we deboarded via stars and were bussed to T1. That was the extent of the assistance and information. After that we were on our own. We eventually discovered that ALL luggage was being offloaded and had to be recovered, regardless of final destination. The baggage carousels did not display flight numbers, and when they did, they were wrong - the carousel that displayed our flt number had luggage from other flights, our bags showed up on the next carousel over.
Once we exited the secure area we joined the large group of folks who were just sitting or milling about with no idea of what the next step was. We eventually asked an Alitalia employee and she told us to call our airline and work it that way...they could do nothing for us. Full disclosure here, my wife's family comes from Italy, she has most of her relatives still there, speaks fluent Italian with a Roman accent, and is very aware of Italian cultural nuances. As expected, any airport employee we tried to talk to acted like we were asking for the moon and couldn't be bothered to help...they were too consumed with their own little dramas to be concerned with passengers. There was no traffic being allowed into the airport, but taxis were going out. We were eventually rebooked thru our airline (via phone) to fly out the next day.
When we returned the next day (3 hours before our flight just to be safe) the T3 ticketing area was operational for check-in, but no gates were being used. After we checked in we had to go to T2 and clear Security there. We were told to keep checking the boards for our flight since a gate wouldn't be assigned until shortly before boarding. Again, chaos ruled. Our flight eventually boarded an hour late. No jetways were in service, we were all bussed out to hardstands for boarding.
The only thing I thought the airport staff did well was keep handing out free water the two days were there. Hopefully things got better over the weekend.

Posted by
570 posts

We flew out of FCO yesterday morning. Arrived at 7:45 for a 10:50 flight. The email from United said to report to terminal 3 to take a shuttle to terminal 5 to drop off luggage at desk 500-something. We had carry-ons, so I knew from this forum that might not be necesary and we stayed in terminal 3. Got thru security easily. Upon arrival I'd say we smelled smoke, but as we went bit further into the airport, not so much so. When we were called to board, we took a bus to the plane which may have been back at terminal 5, but I'm not sure. All in all, it went pretty much as expected for a normal flight.

Posted by
506 posts

Flew in to fco yesterday on Lufthansa no problem at all, had to get bused to baggage, did not get into an actual gate. Wondering about the last post stating that they did not have to go to terminal 5 since they had carry on, I thought all flights going to the U.S. Had to been screened in terminal 5? We are coming back United to the U.S. with only carry on

Posted by
715 posts

When I fly home direct on Alitalia I fly out of terminal 3. I have never gone to Terminal 5.

Posted by
935 posts

If memory serves me, Terminal 5 is for only U.S. carriers flying directly to the U.S.

Posted by
570 posts

Ours was a direct fly to the US from FCO. The boarding was done thru terminal 3. Those who were checking luggage had to go to terminal 5 first. After going thru the boarding process, we were bused to what may have been terminal 5 to board the plane directly.

Posted by
328 posts

We flew Air Canada from FCO to Toronto on Tuesday and they had relocated the check in desks to Terminal 5 (they are usually in Terminal 3). We arrived 3 hours early just to be sure but everything was running very efficiently. They had extra shuttles on to take people from Terminal 3 to 5 and everyone we asked seemed to know where the new check-in desks were (there were a lot of staff standing around to direct people), so we had no problem finding them. Check in went well and we took the regular shuttle back to Terminal 3. We only had carry on (although I don't think checked luggage would have slowed us down much) and were at our gate (G) in 45 minutes.

There was a strong smoke smell in the check-in area of Terminal 3 but no smell at all in the boarding area of Terminal 3. All-in, I think they did an amazing job directing so many people through what could otherwise have been a confusing situation.