Sicilian Airports Shut Down due to Mount Etna Eruption in Spectacular Display

Sicilian Airports Shut Down due to Mount Etna Eruption in Spectacular Display

mount etna eruption volcano

It’s travel chaos in eastern Sicily, as tens of thousands of travelers experience delays and cancellations due to the eruption of Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. The ash plume from the 3,357 meter peak has spread across the region, causing Catania airport to close immediately after the 2.38am local time arrival of a flight from Casablanca. Catania is usually a busy airport during August with roughly 200 daily flights taking off or landing.

Since the eruption began, the main entry point to Sicily has been closed for over nine hours. In an attempt to avoid the repercussions of the disaster, easyJet cancelled their 6:30am flight from London Gatwick to Catania, which was initially delayed by seven hours and now estimated to arrive around 8pm today.

Travelers are advised to check with their airline or airport for updates – and perhaps plan an alternate route for their travels.

Passengers bound for the Italian city of Catania saw their flights delayed, diverted, or cancelled due to the eruption of Mount Etna. British Airways had a 7.10am departure from Gatwick to Catania, which was delayed nine hours. Meanwhile, seven Ryanair flights from Catania were put on hold and passengers sent to Trapani airport at the far west of Sicily.

Ryanair expressed their sympathy, stating “Affected passengers will be notified as soon as possible… Ryanair apologises for the disruptions caused by this volcanic eruption which is outside of our control.” In addition, at least 10 flights between Rome and Catania were also cancelled.

The safety and satisfaction of passengers remains a top priority for airlines, but the unpredictability of nature can throw a wrench in plans. The effects of the volcanic ash are being assessed, and those affected will hopefully be able to continue their journeys safely in the near future.

Travellers heading back to the UK from Catania, Italy, face disruption today with all 10 flights due to leave in the initial 6am hour of departures cancelled. Of the 1,000 passengers expected to depart later in the day, some are flying back on easyJet services to Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick (two departures) and Luton, while other airlines including British Airways and Wizz Air offer flights from Catania to Gatwick.

The temporary closure of Catania Airport from mid-July until early August due to fire damage was an inconvenience for many – and now the issues are continuing at Comiso Airport, located some 150 kilometres from Etna. Those travelling to Comiso can expect delays of several hours due to its closure.

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