Singapore—An alarm on early Thursday morning (Jan 23) caused the delay of 50 flights departing from Changi airport. Nine arriving flights also needed to be diverted. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement, however, that there was no actual fire.
Shortly after midnight on January 23, a fire alarm at the Changi Airport’s control tower went off. This resulted in the immediate evacuation of the tower, which naturally affected airport operations.
The CAAS said, ”Flight operations at Changi Airport were disrupted at 12:10 am today due to the evacuation of Changi Control Tower. The Tower had to be evacuated, as the fire suppression system was activated.”
Fortunately, operations resumed less than two hours after the alarm sounded, but not after numerous flights had already been delayed or diverted.
According to the CAAS, “Normal flight operations were restored at 1:40am when Changi Control Tower resumed operations. During this period, 50 departure flights were delayed by 30 minutes or more and nine arriving flights were diverted.”
However, the CAAS said that air traffic control services continued even while the situation was being looked into.
“In the interim, air traffic control services were provided from back-up positions. There was no fire. Investigations into the cause of the activation are ongoing.”
Some flights were diverted to the international airports at Kuala Lumpur and Batam.
While according to straitstimes.com a number of complaints were made by people on social media, many netizens agreed that safety is of paramount concern, despite the delays.
One person commented that the incident attested to the efficiency of the back-up system.
In other airport-related news, Changi Airport issued an advisory on Wednesday (Jan 22) concerning safety efforts to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus, which has affected over 440 people. The latest death toll as of the morning of January 23 is 17.
In a Facebook post, Changi Airport said “#ADVISORY: Temperature screening has commenced for inbound travellers on all flights arriving from China. We have put up 35 scanners across our four terminals as there are over 430 flights from China each week. We seek your understanding as we undertake these health precautionary measures in Changi Airport. Please approach the duty medical staff for assistance if you’re feeling unwell.”
#ADVISORY: Temperature screening has commenced for inbound travellers on all flights arriving from China. We have put up…
Fears of an outbreak of pneumonia caused by the Wuhan virus have abounded especially since hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens will be traveling home for the Lunar New Year celebrations, which start this Saturday, January 25.
It has been called the “largest annual human migration in the world,” and for this year, the university winter holidays are expected to add even more travellers, hence the heightened concern over the spread of the Wuhan virus, which is believed to have originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei, China.
The virus is now suspected to be detected in people from various countries such as Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, as well as in other cities in China such as Beijing and Shenzhen.
The United States confirmed its first case on Wednesday (Jan 22), and authorities say they are getting ready for more cases to arise, although they deem the first patient, a man in his 30s who arrived from Wuhan on Saturday (Jan 18) to be “low risk” to the general public. Officials, however, are staying on high alert.
The virus, which is a coronavirus similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), is raising alarms worldwide. SARS was responsible for killing almost 650 individuals from 2002 and 2003 in Hong Kong and mainland China. -/TISG