Millions affected across Europe as Mount Etna’s eruption forces flight cancellations

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RomeEdited By: Mukul SharmaUpdated: Aug 15, 2023, 09:23 AM IST

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, lights up the night sky with eruptions as seen from Rocca Della Valle, Italy, August 13, 2023 Photograph:(Reuters)

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Travel to and from Sicily faces significant disruption due to the recent eruption of Mount Etna on Sunday evening.

As the holiday season in parts of Europe began pushing people towards picturesque Sicily in Italy, an ash cloud from Mount Etna has resulted in the cancellation, delay, and redirection of flights, potentially affecting several millions.

Mount Etna eruption: Where all is travel affected?

Travel to and from Sicily faces significant disruption due to the recent eruption of Mount Etna on Sunday evening.

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Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has transitioned from a warning level of F0 to F1, marking a “pre-alert” phase, according to Italian authorities.

Also watch | Italy: Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna’s new eruption shuts airport

The turmoil stoked by the volcanic eruption coincides with Italy’s largest national holiday, Ferragosto, this week.

Flight activity around Sicily

Passengers have been advised to consult their respective airlines for updates on their flights.

While the eruption has now subsided, the streets of Catania are covered in ash, prompting the mayor to impose restrictions on motorcycle usage and vehicle speeds.

With around 200 daily flights, Catania airport is located approximately 50 km south of the volcano and is a crucial travel hub.

Nearly 95 per cent of today’s flights have been cancelled, with only a few flights arriving or being diverted to other Sicilian airports.

Sicily’s airports are spread across the island, with Catania and Comiso on the east coast and Palermo, the largest, on the west coast.

What are the airlines saying?

Ryanair Airlines has cautioned passengers travelling to and from Catania on August 14 about the potential delays, diversions, or cancellations, Euro News reported.

EasyJet, the primary UK-Catania carrier, has cancelled flights from Bristol, Edinburgh, and Gatwick, redirecting certain flights to Comiso Airport.

Numerous flights from European airlines to Catania have also been cancelled.

This closure follows the recent reopening of Catania Airport after a major terminal fire in mid-July, which led to substantial travel disruptions.

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