South American airports re-open after ash disruption

Hotel News - 13/06/2011

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After two days of disrupted air travel, flights are resuming through major airports across Uruguay and Argentina. Many flights were cancelled or delayed as a cloud of volcanic ash from Chile descended across parts of South America.

In the Argentinian city of Buenos Aires, both of the biggest airports in the country, went back into operation late last Friday. The main airport in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, also re-opened later.

The effects of the ash cloud are being felt far away. Across the Pacific Ocean, Australian airline Qantas cancelled a range of flights between its home country and New Zealand as a result of the ash.

The problems began over a week ago, when a volcano in the Chilean mountain range of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle started to erupt. The ash cloud, largely composed of very fine particles of ash, has been carried extreme distances by strong winds high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Particles of ash from Chile are being found up to 10,000kms away, in the Australian state of Tasmania. Though Tasmania sits at the same altitude as the Chilean volcano, it is far to the west of South America.

As of Saturday, most flights operating through Carrasco international airport in Montevideo were back to normal. Authorities at airports in Buenos Aires were expecting flights to get back to normal no later than Monday.

Some airports are still closed, however. In Patagonia, many airports had not reopened by Monday. The region’s ski season is scheduled to kick off soon, meaning the Chilean volcano could end up having a chilling effect on skiers there.

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