Travel warning for Brits as La Palma airport closes after volcanic eruption

By Claire Schofield
Sunday, 26th September 2021, 1:39 pm
Flights to and from La Palma have been cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash cloud (Photo: Getty Images)
Flights to and from La Palma have been cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash cloud (Photo: Getty Images)

The airport on the Spanish Island of La Palma has been forced to close after a second volcanic vent opened, spreading ash across the island.

Flights to and from La Palma have been cancelled as a result of the ash cloud spewing from the volcanic eruption that has lasted a week.

Lava flowed down the slopes of the volcano and flew high into the air after the new vent opened on Saturday (25 September).

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What has the airport said?

La Palma Airport operator Aena said on Twitter that plane traffic was suspended “due to the accumulation of ash” in the air.

However, holidaymakers have been assured that other airports in the Canary Islands are still in operation.

The airport wrote: At this time, La Palma airport is inoperative due to ash accumulation.

"The rest of the Canarian airports are still operating.

There are airlines that are suspending their flights in La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife Norte and Tenerife Sur."

When did the volcanic eruption start?

The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted on Sunday 19 September for the first time in 50 years.

The intensity of the eruption caused a 3.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday 20 September, causing a crack to open on the slope of the volcano, after which a stream of lava began pouring out.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for several villages, including El Paso and Los Llanos Aridane, with around 7,000 people forced to leave their homes.

Experts from the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute have said that the aftermath of the eruption could last for up to 84 days, leaving residents at continued risk of earthquakes, lava flows, toxic gases, volcanic ash and acid rain.

Can I still travel to the Canary Islands?

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not actively recommending tourists to avoid visiting the Canary Islands.

In a statement, the FCDO said: “On Sunday 19 September 2021, at approximately 15.15 local time, there was a volcanic eruption on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma.

“The immediate areas of Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte and El Paso have been evacuated.

“If you are in an affected area you should follow the advice of local authorities, including social media updates from Cabildo de La Palma.

“If you are planning to travel to the island imminently you are encouraged to contact your tour operators/airlines.”