A helicopter and six trainer aircraft were destroyed in a major fire at a hangar at Begumpet airport in the city on Monday night. However, there was no loss of life.
Minister for ports and airports G Srinivasa Rao, who visited the site, told mediapersons that five trainer aircraft of the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy and an Augusta Westland helicopter of the state government were destroyed in the blaze.
The 15-seater Augusta AW 139, which was purchased by the state government in 2008 for Rs. 63 crore was reduced to ash, he said. While there was no official estimate of the loss, aviation sources said that the total loss could be over Rs. 150 crore.
Quoting airport officials, the police said there were three successive explosions around 11.30 pm resulting in inferno. As many as 15 fire tenders took four hours to douse the flames.
The police suspect that the aviation turbine fuel in the parked aircraft could have fuelled the fire. "We are yet to ascertain the reasons behind the mishap," a senior fire official said.
Meanwhile, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Tuesday ordered a CID probe into the incident and asked chief secretary Minnie Mathew to submit a report.