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Fire at Allama Iqbal International Airport disrupts flight operations

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A fire broke out at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport on Thursday, causing a disruption in flight operations, particularly the international ones. Although the fire was brought under control, it severely affected the airport’s immigration system, with preliminary reports suggesting that it originated from one of the conveyor belts in the international departure lounge. The fire quickly engulfed the counters, and firefighters took an hour to reach the airport. The flames were so intense that firefighters had to break the windows to gain entry to the affected area. 

The fire rapidly destroyed the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) immigration system and counters. The first two Hajj flights from the city were initially delayed. However, 12 to 14 other flights scheduled to land in Lahore were either cancelled or diverted to Islamabad and Faisalabad airports. The intending Hajj pilgrims were shifted out of the departure lounge due to a build-up of smoke, and a couple of them fell unconscious and were taken to a hospital. However, they later recovered and departed for their destination with the rest of the intending pilgrims.

The suspension of international flights from the airport was extended to 10 pm, and the international immigration system’s (IMS) maintenance time at the Lahore airport was also extended to 10 pm. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesperson said that the international operations would be able to start as soon as the IMS system was restored. The spokesperson added that the Lahore airport was available for domestic and cargo operations as usual. 

The situation at the airport is gradually returning to normal, and no casualties have been reported in the fire. However, there are conflicting reports about the resumption of domestic flights to and from the Lahore airport. A preliminary report of the fire has been submitted to Aviation Minister Khawaja Asif. Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi has sought a report and ordered a thorough investigation into the fire at Lahore airport’s immigration counters. The minister ordered that the immigration counters should be made functional again as soon as possible. 

In summary, a fire that broke out at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport caused a disruption in flight operations, especially the international ones, as it severely affected the airport’s immigration system. The suspension of international flights was extended to 10 pm, and the IMS maintenance time was also extended to 10 pm. The situation at the airport is gradually returning to normal, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

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