Mount Etna Eruption: Flights cancelled after Catania Airport runway lined in volcanic ash

Europe’s largest energetic volcano Mount Etna erupted on Sunday, forcing a slew of cancellations and delays to flights working to and from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) in Sicily, Italy.

The volcanic eruption reportedly left runways and different components of Catania, Sicily’s capital, lined in volcanic ash, with many providers out and in of the airport suspended till 9 a.m. native time on Monday.

Catania-Fontanarossa Airport is simply 32 km (20 miles) from Mount Etna. Earlier than Mount Etna’s eruption, the airport was beforehand predicted to be the sixth busiest airport in Italy on Sunday, servicing greater than 250 flights, in keeping with flight information from Cirium.

A press release from CTA learn: “Because of the eruptive exercise of Etna and copious quantities of volcanic ash on the airport surfaces, flight operations are suspended till security situations are restored.”

At the least 68 flights to and from the airport had been canceled as of 5 p.m. on Sunday (44 departing and 24 arrivals), together with 23 flights operated by Ryanair and 6 EasyJet flights, in keeping with aviation analytics agency Cirium. FlightAware information confirmed that cancellations amounted to 34% of flights at CTA, with 15% of flights being delayed.

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CTA serves over 10 million passengers yearly, and its Catania to Rome route is the busiest in Italy and second-busiest in Europe.

Italy’s Nationwide Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) mentioned it just lately noticed elevated tremor exercise. The Nationwide Civil Safety Company additionally shared an alert on Thursday saying that elevated volcanic exercise advised “sudden” variations of Etna’s traditional exercise may happen.

Mount Etna is among the world’s most energetic volcanoes and Europe’s largest, standing at greater than 10,000 toes tall. Its final main eruption was in 1922. Nonetheless, it erupted in early 2021, lasting a number of weeks.

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View of Mount Etna erupting from an inbound flight to Catania, June 2022. JORDAN WALLER/THE POINTS GUY

In June 2022, TPG noticed the would possibly of Etna firsthand when the volcano erupted as they had been as a result of land in Catania. On common, Etna erupts round 200 occasions per yr, with most incidents inflicting solely minor disruptions.

The timing of the eruption was an additional blow to journey in Italy, which was already reeling from a nationwide strike throughout the European nation on Friday that affected airport floor dealing with providers.

Associated: Planning a visit to Italy? Right here’s how you can get there on factors and miles

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