It’s official: the 19 April night-time fire at Gulf Aircraft Maintenance’s hangar in Abu Dhabi was brought under “quick control” and “contained expeditiously”, a line dutifully repeated by the Arab press later that day, thereby sparing Gamco the indignity of having to wipe too much umm ali off its face.
But in a world where large hangars – even those protected by closed-circuit television – can co-exist with small mobile phone cameras, the truth inevitably will out. The truth in this case being that the Qatar Airways A300-600 in Bay 1 (for those unfamiliar with the layout, that’s right next to the huge ‘No Smoking’ sign) was practically reduced to ashes, as these pictures obtained by Air Transport Intelligence clearly illustrate.
Such was the intensity of the blaze that it almost saved painters the job of de-identifying the fuselage. Given that five other aircraft were strategically crammed into the same space, Gamco can consider itself lucky not to have suffered the same misfortune as Sabena Technics and become a beacon of the local economy for all the wrong reasons.