The Spanish island of La Palma has closed its airport on Saturday amid an ongoing volcanic eruption that has forced thousands to evacuate.
Last Sunday, the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island started erupting for the first time in 50 years. Over the past days, flight operations were mostly able to continue thanks to favourable wind conditions that helped push ash clouds away from the airport, located only about ten kilometres east of the volcano.
Now, the Cumbre Vieja is entering a more explosive phase and airlines are forced to suspend their flights to La Palma. This primarily affects Binter Canarias, the main regional airline of the Canary Islands, its smaller competitor Canaryfly, as well as several airlines from continental Europe, including Spanish flag-carrier Iberia. It is currently unclear when flights would be able to resume, as a restart depends on future volcanic activity and weather conditions.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.