La Palma volcanic ash cloud disrupts Tenerife flights

A drone is used to monitor lava flow at the Cumbre Vieja volcano pictured in the background, on the Canary island of La Palma. PHOTO: AFP

LA PALMA (REUTERS) - An ash cloud from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Spain's La Palma disrupted air traffic on Friday (Oct 8) on the neighbouring island of Tenerife, although conditions improved later in the day, airport operator Aena said.

Tenerife's northern airport was open and planes could safely land and take off but several flights were cancelled or diverted to the island's southern terminal, an Aena spokesman said.

La Palma's airport has been closed since Thursday.

Local airline Binter Canarias cancelled services to and from the northern airport earlier in the day and diverted a flight to the southern one.

But on Friday afternoon it said it was resuming operations, "given the improvement in meteorological conditions due to the recent behaviour of the ash cloud".

An AENA spokesman also said a couple of planes landed after conditions improved.

The airport in La Palma closed on Sept 25 to allow workers to clear ash from the runway. AENA said it would remain closed until 1pm on Saturday at the earliest.

The volcano has been blasting out jets of red-hot lava for more than two weeks, laying waste to hundreds of buildings and farms, and forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents.

A decade ago, most of Europe's airspace was closed due to an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, causing airlines billions of euros in lost revenue.

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