Volcano restricts Canary Island: Nobody flies to La Palma anymore

Even experts can only estimate how long the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano will last. The ash now ensures that the Canary Island of La Palma can only be reached by sea. The airport maneuvering area cannot be used until further notice.

Air traffic to the volcanic island of La Palma has been interrupted for an indefinite period of time because of volcanic ash on the tarmac. The operating company Aena of the airport on the Canary Island announced that the airport had to cease operations. The airlines Binter and Canaryfly had announced the day before that they would no longer fly to the island from Thursday. This leaves travelers only with the sea route. The ferries take about four hours to the next larger neighboring island of Tenerife, where air traffic was last normal.

Authorities called on people near the Cumbre Vieja volcano to stay home because of the ash rain and to wear FFP2 masks and goggles outdoors. The ashes are small splinters of cold magma that the volcano has thrown into the air and that can be felt on the skin like fine pinpricks, as the newspaper “La Vanguardia” reported.

The volcano in the south of the island, which is so far less known to tourists than other Canary Islands such as Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote, erupted on September 19th for the first time in 50 years. How long he would remain active, volcanologists could not say. It could take months, they said. According to official reports, the lava has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings since the eruption began. Around 6,000 people were brought to safety. There is great damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

Due to the lava pouring into the sea, La Palma has grown by about ten hectares since the eruption. The liquid rock, which has a temperature of around 1000 degrees, hardens when it enters the 20 degree warm water of the Atlantic and slowly pushes the coast out into the sea. As a result, a small peninsula about 500 meters wide has formed.