Five workers probed for Fiumicino fire, Delrio says operations near 'optimal'

Delrio visits T3 after airport blaze, says 'almost optimal'

(ANSA) - Rome, May 15 - Five air-conditioning maintenance workers were under investigation in connection with a fire that destroyed much of Fiumicino Airport's Terminal 3 last week, snarling traffic for days, police said Friday.
    As they spoke, another problem hit the airport as national aviation authority ENAV said that traffic was briefly halted by a radar fault.
    That was soon resolved and flights returned to normal, ENAV added.
    In the fire investigation, workers were being probe for arson, after surveillance video showed the workers on duty in the room where the fire broke out, police said.
    In the video, investigators said the workers set up and turned on a portable air-conditioning unit, apparently to prevent an electrical panel from overheating.
    However the air-conditioning unit turned off because it wasn't connected to an external power source.
    Meanwhile, Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said that terminal operations were almost back to their "optimal functioning" during a visit there Friday following last week's fire.
    He said international flights were almost back to normal while work was still to be done next week to bring the national gates back up to speed.
    "Thanks to everyone who sacrificed in recent days to reduce passenger hardships to a minimum," Delrio said, emphasizing in particular the work of employees of national carrier Alitalia and the airport's operating company ADR.
    The blaze that broke out just after midnight on May 7 near a restaurant in Terminal 3 led to an evacuation that closed the airport for several hours, resulting in snarled operations and cancelled flights.
    When asked whether the government would provide funding to help Fiumicino repair damage from the fire, Delrio said no, and that his visit was "only to ensure that citizens have full service and that work is taking place in a safe and timely manner".
    Delrio said investments totaling 500 million euros are already being pumped into the airport to modernize the country's "most important" international air travel hub.