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La Palma volcano: Are flights still running and should I cancel my holiday?

Canary Islands airport is currently shut

Helen Coffey
Monday 27 September 2021 10:45 BST
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La Palma volcano: Airport reopens, but flights remain cancelled

The volcanic eruption on La Palma in the Canary Islands that started more than a week ago continues, with two active lava flows – one a fast-moving flow to the north, the other a slower one to the south.

Since the Cumbre Vieja volcano began erupting last Sunday, more than 6,000 people have been evacuated, with hundreds of homes and other buildings destroyed.

But what does the eruption mean for flights and holidays, and can you cancel a trip in light of events? Here’s what we know so far.

Are flights to La Palma cancelled?

Yes, all flights to La Palma’s own airport are currently cancelled. Although the airport reopened yesterday, after ash was cleared off the runway, services are currently unable to take-off or land due to the volcanic ash clouds being spewed into the air.

Binter, the Canary Islands airline, said in a statement yesterday: “The ash cloud originating from the volcanic eruption makes it necessary to maintain the temporary stoppage of flights to La Palma... The flights scheduled for today have been cancelled.”

Spain’s airport operator AENA says on its website: “At this moment, all Canarian airports are operational again. There are airlines that are suspending their flights to / from La Palma.

“If you plan to fly, confirm the status of your flight with your airline.”

A quick look at the scheduled arrivals and departures for La Palma airport on 27 September confirmed that all flights are cancelled.

Four flights, operated by Binter, Canaryfly and Iberia, were due to take off from the island, while four more, from Binter, Canaryfly, Iberia and AirEuropa, were scheduled to arrive.

Can I cancel my holiday to La Palma?

It may well be that your holiday can’t go ahead as planned regardless. The Foreign Office advice regarding La Palma states: “If you are in an affected area you should follow the advice of local authorities, including social media updates from Cabildo de La Palma. If you are planning to travel to the island imminently you are encouraged to contact your tour operators/airlines.”

Tui repatriated all holidaymakers on the island last week, while future holidays there are cancelled until 1 October.

The tour operator said in a statement: “The safety of our customers is our highest priority and our teams in resort are working hard to assist customers.

“Due to the ongoing situation we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all flights departing up to and including 1 October 2021. All impacted customers will be contacted directly to discuss their options.”

Are any other Canary Islands affected?

The Tenerife Tourist Office has said that “what is happening in La Palma has no impact on Tenerife - the two islands are 140km apart.

It added that “in any event, the situation on the island of La Palma is completely under control by the authorities”.

The tourism office continued: “There are no people at risk and the procedure for evacuating tourist accommodation and residences is fully operational, with the aim being that all the residents and visitors will have accommodation available to stay out of any type of danger.

“The Canary Islands is a volcanic territory which has access to scientific and technological instruments and personnel of the highest quality to react early to any situation such as that which has occurred.

“Despite the extraordinary natural phenomenon we are experiencing, we therefore repeat that there is no danger to human life.”

Tui confirmed its holidays to other Canary Islands remained unaffected: “We’d like to reassure customers due to travel to any other Canary Islands that our flights are currently operating as planned, however we will continue to monitor the situation and contact them should their holiday be impacted.”

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