Flights to Argentina’s second-busiest airport were canceled as winds carried a huge ash cloud toward the nation’s capital following the eruption of a volcano nearly 2,000 kilometers away in southern Chile.
American Airlines Group Inc canceled all of its flights to Buenos Aires’s Ezeiza airport on Friday, while Delta Airlines called off two flights and Air France-KLM and Air Canada one each, said Carlos Armentano, head of media and publicity at airport operator Aerolineas Argentinas 2000. The cancellations were part of preventive measures as the volcanic ash was expected to reach the airport by midday local time, Armentano said.
The Chilean government yesterday declared a state of catastrophe in the area surrounding Calbuco Volcano in the southern Lakes Region and evacuated more than 4,000 people after two eruptions blew smoke and ash 11 km into the sky, according to geology service Sernageomin. Wind carried ash across the Andes cordillera, covering the Argentine cities of Bariloche, Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes, local media reported.
The ash cloud continued to travel northward and reached central Argentina on Friday. A flight from Buenos Aires to the port city of Bahia Blanca in the south of Buenos Aires province had to turn around because of ash at the airport. Bariloche and Neuquen airports in Argentina’s northern Patagonia have been closed since yesterday, Armentano said.