More than 100 flights cancelled in Argentina due to volcanic ashes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Buenos Aires - More than 100 flights have been cancelled in the last 24 hours in Argentina due to a towering plume of ash blown into the country from the erupting Puyehue volcano in neighbouring Chile.

The 2 240m-high Puyehue volcano, located just west of the Chilean-Argentine border, began erupting on Saturday, sending a 10km-high cloud of ash, even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the northeast.

The airport in Bahia Blanca, a major city south of Buenos Aires, was closed Monday morning for safety reasons and will not be opened again at least until Wednesday, an official at the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC) told Xinhua.

On Sunday, airports were also closed in the region around San Carlos de Bariloche, about 90km west of the Puyehue volcano, and in Trelew on the Atlantic coast.

The cancelled flights are mainly those flying out of Buenos Aires to the affected regions, operated by the Chilean airline LAN, Aerolineas Argentinas (AA) and Austral airlines.

AA and Austral announced they were suspending all flights to southern parts of Argentina at least until June 12.

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