Wellington International Airport has reopened after it was evacuated on Monday afternoon when a fire started in the main terminal.

The fire started in the ceiling of the departure lounge, near the duty free stores and toilet area about 2pm, Wellington Fire Brigade senior station officer Paul Lyall said .

“The fire was spotted from an escalator area, but it was subsequently located in the ceiling,” he said.

“The cause at this stage looks likely to be electrical rather than anything malicious.”

Damage was confined to water damage that extended downstairs throughout the area of the terminal, he said.

“It has damaged some electrical equipment … the fire damage itself was just confined to the ceiling area because the sprinkler system controlled the fire.”

Lyall said the damage done by the water was minor compared to what would have happened without the sprinklers.

Wellington Airport spokeswoman Louise Murray said all services had resumed.

“There was a period of around an hour and a half where services were stopped due to a small electrical fire.”

The airport was working to clear flights that had been delayed.

There would still be some delays at the baggage check-in, Murray said.