First plane lands near Canaries volcano after airport closure: operator

By: AFP      Published: 08:04 PM, 29 Sep, 2021
First plane lands near Canaries volcano after airport closure: operator

A commercial plane landed on La Palma in the Canary Islands on Wednesday, the first since ash from an erupting volcano halted flights at the weekend, airport operator Aena said.

The airport was shut down on Saturday due to the accumulation of ash from La Cumbre Vieja volcano, which began erupting 10 days ago. 

It was closed for 24 hours but although it reopened, all flights were cancelled until a plane operated by local airline Binter, landed at La Palma's airport on Wednesday afternoon, an Aena spokesman told AFP.

Binter confirmed the flight's arrival, saying it flew in from the neighbouring island of Tenerife after "an improvement in security conditions" on La Palma, where the volcano is still active.

La Cumbre Vieja lies about 15 kilometres (nine miles) west of the airport as the crow flies, although the lava has only spilt down the western side of the volcano

Binter said it would also resume its transportation of aid for those hit by the eruption of the volcano, which has forced more than 6,000 people from their homes and destroyed 656 properties, as well as huge swathes of banana plantations.

Another two local flights were scheduled to arrive later in the afternoon, but two others from Madrid and Munich were cancelled, Aena's website showed.