Sicilian airports gets disrupted as Mount Etna’s eruption grounds most airlines

Monday, August 14, 2023


The eruption of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has caused significant disruptions to air travel in eastern Sicily, impacting tens of thousands of travelers. Ash plumes from the 3,357-meter-high volcano have spread across the eastern part of the island, leading to flight diversions and cancellations.

Catania Airport, a major entry point to Sicily, saw closures after an incoming flight from Casablanca on Monday. The airport typically handles around 200 daily flights in August. The eruption’s impact has rippled across flight schedules, with delays and cancellations affecting major airlines like easyJet, British Airways, and Ryanair.

Passengers have faced extended delays, some over nine hours, as volcanic activity has restricted flight paths in and out of Catania. Airlines have communicated with passengers about the disruptions, citing safety as the top priority and apologizing for factors beyond their control.

Ryanair, which had multiple flights bound for Catania, alerted passengers of potential delays, diversions, or cancellations due to the volcanic eruption. The situation has led to a ripple effect across flight schedules, including cancellations of over 10 ITA flights between Rome and Catania.

Comiso Airport, situated around 150 kilometers from Mount Etna, is also experiencing delays and closures. The impact of this eruption on air travel comes after Catania Airport’s recent closure due to fire damage between mid-July and early August.

As volcanic ash continues to affect flight operations, passengers are left navigating the uncertainty caused by Mount Etna’s eruption. The eruption’s unpredictable nature serves as a reminder of the complex challenges that natural phenomena can pose to the aviation industry and the disruptions they can inflict on travelers worldwide.

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