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Over 3,500 Rental Cars Destroyed in Airport Fire

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Over 3,500 rental cars were destroyed on Friday when a fire broke out in the grassy overflow area of Southwest Florida International Airport.

A Lee County Port Authority spokesperson told CNN that the fire originally only affected 20 cars that were parked in the rental car overflow area. Authorities were called around 5 p.m. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had spread through 15 acres.

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“By the time we had units on the scene, we had 100 cars (on fire). We lost count after the hundreds,” said Melinda Avni, Mitigation Specialist for Florida Forestry Service of Caloosahatchee.

Several fire departments and ground and aerial support from Florida Forestry Service arrived to put out the fire. At least 80 airdrops were made by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office’s aviation unit.

The fire was contained by 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, almost 18 hours after it began.

“We appreciate their courage and willingness to help our Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Department. Together they were able to keep all our passengers and airport visitors safe,” the airport said in a Facebook post.

No injuries had resulted from the fire. The airport remained open and continued service, though the inbound lanes of Terminal Access Road were closed. Passengers were bussed inside from the employee parking lot.

A total of 3,516 rental cars were destroyed or damaged. The cars were being stored at the time and were not in service.

The Avis Budget Group confirmed that some of the company’s vehicles were caught in the blaze. The company is still evaluating the damage and does not have a final vehicle count at this time. Eight other companies were also affected by the fire.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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Car Rental & Rail

Amtrak Asks Government for More Bailout Money

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Amtrak announced Tuesday it has requested another $1.475 billion in bailout funding from the United States government to avoid service cuts and route suspensions as a result of reduced demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

While the rail company received $1 billion in emergency funding in April, Amtrak officials said the continued impact of the viral pandemic on business has forced them to reduce operating costs by approximately $500 million.

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Amtrak plans to cut costs through restructuring its workforce and controlling discretionary expenses. The funds would be used to maintain minimum service levels and continue capital investments for the future.

“As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout become clearer, we are seeking supplemental federal funding for the next fiscal year,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a letter to congress.

“It is clear that Amtrak faces daunting challenges in Fiscal Year 2021, which will require us to take action to protect our rail network, our critical capital assets, and the livelihoods of our employees,” Flynn continued.

Even with the government assistance, Amtrak revealed it still plans to extend service cuts, as social distancing guidelines will continue to capacity limits as travel demand returns. Flynn also said the railroad faces “daunting challenges” that will require the company to take action.

Amtrak officials said revenue for the next fiscal year is expected to fall by $1.6 billion and to run a $1.4 billion loss after it nearly broke even last year. Employee expenses are expected to be cut by $350 million.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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