This week’s airport events: sleep in Washington, fire in Miami

It’s been a massive week for Miami International Airport (IATA: MIA) after a fire broke out on Wednesday night and turning into an enormous blaze near six fuel tanks on the southeast side of the airport. It subsequently destroyed the airport’s hydrant fuel pump system forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The Miami Herald wrote that “some semblance of normalcy could return by early next week after temporary pumps are installed and the backlog of canceled flights clears out.”

Wednesday seemed anyway to have been the “black” day of US aviation last week as there was another massive incident that day: At Washington’s Reagan National Airport (IATA: DCA) an air traffic supervisor dozed off in the control tower early Wednesday, forcing passenger plane pilots to land on their own. He was drug-tested by federal authorities before being suspended from his job, federal officials said to the Washington Post. On Friday the same newspaper wrote that the incident triggered the FAA to revise U.S. air traffic control rules. “Effective immediately, we are instituting an interim plan to ensure we do not repeat another situation like the one at Reagan National Airport Wednesday morning,” Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt said in the article.

On Tuesday it was reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (IATA: ATL) say they’ve foiled a destructive beetle from entering the country, where it could have done massive damage to crops. The khapra beetle was found in the luggage of two passengers arriving from India.

And finally, Saturday saw the fourth installation of Earth Hour, a global event organized by WWF asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Many of the world’s airports also participated by shutting down non-essential lights. Google news lists London Luton (IATA: LTN), Singapore Changi (IATA: SIN), Stockholm Skavsta (IATA: NYO), Budapest (IATA: BUD) and Abu Dhabi airport (IATA: AUH) among others to have participated.

[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by MNicoleM]