Accumulation of volcanic ash closes La Palma airport in the Canary Islands in Spain

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Smoke rises as lava flows into the sea following a volcano eruption, viewed from the port of Tazacorte, Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, October 6, 2021. REUTERS / Juan Medina

MADRID, October 7 (Reuters) – A build-up of ash and dust from erupting volcano Cumbre Vieja on the runway forced Spanish authorities in La Palma to shut down the island’s airport on Thursday, the airline said. AENA (AENA.MC).

However, other airports in the Canary Islands archipelago off North Africa remained open and an AENA spokesperson said the ash cloud is unlikely to pose greater risks to the air transport at the moment.

This is the second time that La Palma airport has been closed due to the accumulation of ash since the start of the eruption on September 19.

“La Palma airport is inoperative due to the accumulation of ash. Established protocols are being applied. Safety is the priority,” the operator said in a post on Twitter.

In 2011, massive closures of European airspace due to an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland disrupted travel plans for millions of passengers in Europe and elsewhere, and cost airlines more than one billion euros in revenue.

The volcano of La Palma has been exploding jets of incandescent lava for more than two weeks, devastating hundreds of buildings and farms and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

The airport was closed on September 25 but reopened the next day after workers swept volcanic ash from the runway.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Andrei Khalip and Susan Fenton

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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