Mount Etna Eruption: Is It Safe To Travel To Sicily Right Now?

Mount Etna erupting at night
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Mount Etna eruption: everything you need to know about Sicily airport closures

Catania airport will be closed until Tuesday morning after Mount Etna erupted on Sunday

Only a couple of weeks after travel was disrupted by wildfires in Sicily, flights due to arrive or depart from Sicily’s Catania airport have been suspended after the island’s volcano Mount Etna erupted on Sunday night. Etna is one of Europe’s most active volcanoes and frequently erupts, but larger eruptions can cause ash clouds that are disruptive and dangerous for air traffic. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mount Etna eruption and how it has and will affect travel to and from Sicily.

What’s the latest with the Mount Etna eruption?

On Sunday, August 13, Sicily’s stratovolcano Mount Etna erupted, sending an ash plume over the island’s eastern coast. There are reports of raining ash, and all air traffic to and from Catania and Comiso airports has been paused until further notice. 

Which Sicilian airports have been forced to close?

As well as Catania airport, which is the island’s most popular, the smaller nearby airport of Comiso also closed as a result of the eruption. Flights to and from Catania were suspended until 6am on Tuesday, August 15. 

Once officials announce that the airspace in eastern Sicily is clear, travel to and from Catania airport will resume. However, motorbikes, bicycles and cars driving faster than 19mph are currently banned in the city of Catania as roads are covered with ash that can become slippery. Travellers intending to fly from Catania are advised to remain in their hotels, while those due to travel to the island are either seeing heavy delays or having their flights diverted to other airports on the island. 

Can I get a refund if my flight is cancelled? 

When a flight is severely delayed or cancelled, airlines have a duty to offer alternative travel and accommodation. However, in most cases, travellers are not eligible for compensation in the event of unforeseen natural disasters, extreme weather and strikes.

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