A cloud of volcanic ash spewing from Europe’s most active volcano has prompted the closure of one of Sicily’s largest airports, leading to flights being delayed, canceled and diverted.
Sicily’s Catania international airport, known as Catania–Fontanarossa Airport, is to remain closed until 8 p.m. local time on Monday following the eruption of nearby Mount Etna, the airport press office said in a statement.
“All arrivals and departures are therefore prohibited,” the statement said, adding that “passengers are kindly requested to present themselves at the airport only after consulting their airline.”
The volcanic activity, which began late Sunday, evolved into a “lava fountain,” producing a volcanic cloud dispersed in a southerly direction, according to the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology’s Etna observatory.
This is “producing a fallout of ash in the southern sector of the volcano and beyond,” it said.
Several flights scheduled to arrive in Catania, including those from destinations such as Malta, France, Austria, and other Italian regions, have been canceled, delayed, or diverted, according to flight-tracking service Flightradar24.
The closure comes just days after the airport resumed operations, having been disrupted by a major fire in its terminal building in mid-July.
As well as being the most active, Mount Etna is Europe’s highest volcano, at about 3,350 meters (almost 11,000 feet) tall.