Volcanic eruptions in Sicily cause disruptions to air traffic and temporary closure of the airport


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Travelers to Sicily and Stromboli in southern Italy are experiencing disruption due to volcanic activity.

Eruptions at Mount Etna and the smaller Stromboli volcano in Italy sent hot ash and lava into the air, raising the alert level on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and forcing the temporary closure of Catania airport on Friday.

Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has seen intense activity in recent days, lighting up the skies near the city of Catania, while Stromboli has been spewing lava into the sea off Sicily’s northern coast. The eruption is only affecting Sicily and nearby islands.

Italy’s civil protection agency has issued a top red alert for Stromboli, warning that the situation could worsen. A UNESCO World Heritage site and island just off the northern coast of Sicily, Stromboli attracts tourists for its volcanoes and beaches. The island suffers from overtourism In recent years, an average of 2,000 visitors have come by boat to the island’s only pier.

Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci said Stromboli was “under surveillance” and that authorities were ensuring evacuation plans were in place in case of emergency.

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Eruption of Etna volcano on July 5, 2024 in Sicily.Eruption of Etna volcano on July 5, 2024 in Sicily.

Eruption of Etna volcano on July 5, 2024 in Sicily.

Mayor of Catania Enrico Trantino a regulation issued On Friday, the use of bicycles and motorcycles was banned for 48 hours and a speed limit of about 18 miles per hour was imposed “due to the excessive fallout of volcanic ash.”

The fire department said they had pre-emptively doubled the number of firefighters on the island.

Around Catania, on Sicily’s east coast, residents and authorities have begun cleaning up the city after streets and cars were covered in black volcanic ash and the nearby airport was temporarily closed.

Catania Airport is Sicily’s busiest airport and the sixth busiest airport in Italy, with almost 9 million passengers per year.

“The runway at Catania Airport is unusable due to the volcanic ash fall. Both arrivals and departures have been suspended,” the airport said in a statement. Late on Friday night, 69 flights were canceled in Italy, mainly flights operated by European low-cost carriers EasyJet and Ryanair, it said. Flight aware. Twenty-seven percent of departing flights and 31% of arriving flights were delayed.

Many flights were diverted to Palermo, about a four-hour drive from Catalina, Euronews reported.

The airport was closed at around 4:30 p.m. tweeted on Xformerly Twitter, which reopened with limited operations and delays.

Contributor: Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Jason Neely

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Is it safe to travel to Italy? Sicily volcanoes erupt, flight delays

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