TUI cancels more La Palma flights as volcano eruption worsens

posted on 26th October 2021 by Eddie Saunders
TUI cancels more La Palma flights as volcano eruption worsens

By Liv Clarke |

TUI have cancelled flights to La Palma until mid-November as the island’s volcanic eruption reaches new levels of activity.

For five weeks the Cumbre Vieja has been erupting, causing damage to more than 2,000 buildings and the evacuation of 7,500 residents.

Now officials report the volcano is more active than ever, as new lava flows threaten to reach previously unaffected areas, after the partial collapse of the crater.

On Friday TUI issued a customer update, announcing that all flights to La Palma departing up to and including November 17 had been cancelled, with the next flight to the island scheduled for November 18.

The operator said: “Due to the ongoing situation we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all flights to La Palma departing up to and including November 17 2021. All impacted customers will be contacted directly to discuss their options.

“The next scheduled flight to La Palma is November 18 2021.”

The airline added that flights to other Canary Islands are operating as usual.

A powerful new river of molten rock gushed out of La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja volcano early on Monday.

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute described it as “a giant lava fountain”.

“We’re in a new phase, which is much more intense,” Pedro Hernandez, a researcher at the institute, told public broadcaster RTVE.

The eruption drove a volcanic ash cloud high over the island off north-west Africa.

Residents watched to see what direction the new lava flow would take, and authorities prepared to move more people from their homes.

Prompt evacuations have so far avoided casualties from the eruption, though the lava has totally or partially destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, mostly homes, and covered more than 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of mostly farmland.

The rivers of lava rolling down the hillside are up to almost three kilometres (almost two miles) wide, authorities said.

New fissures and side vents cracked open along the volcano’s slopes over the weekend, allowing more molten rock to escape.

One main river of lava has already reached the Atlantic Ocean.

Another ground to a halt when it entered a built-up coastal neighbourhood.

Scientists last week counted more than 800 earthquakes of varying magnitude on La Palma, most of them not felt by residents.

The strongest had a magnitude of 4.9.

Though most of the island so far is unaffected by the eruption, parts of the western side where the lava fields are expanding face an uncertain future.