Aviation News

June 7, 2011

Argentina Air Carriers Suspend All Flights Due to Chile Volcano

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By: BNO News
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Argentina’s airlines on Tuesday suspended all flights indefinitely due to safety concerns in regards to the volcanic ash stemming from the Chilean Puyehue volcano.

Detail image of the Puyehue 2011 Volcanic Eruption taken by NASA's Aqua Satellite, showing the heavy ashen cloud

Detail image of the Puyehue 2011 Volcanic Eruption taken by NASA's Aqua Satellite, showing the heavy ashen cloud

According to the state-run TELAM news agency, Aerolineas Argentinas (AA), Austral and LAN suspended all operations due the presence of ash clouds in the airspace after the eruption of the Chilean volcano last Saturday.

The affected passengers due to cancelled flights will be able to travel at any other date for up to a year. No additional fees will be charged, Aerolineas Argentinas and Air Austral informed.

On the other hand, LAN airlines informed that the all flights will remain grounded until the Argentina’s Meteorological Service update the situation. Some flights to Bariloche, Neuquen and Bahia Blanca were suspended since last night.

Meanwhile, ash clouds have reached Paraguayan territory. So far, the volcanic ash has affected Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Many flights have been suspended in these nations as well.

On Saturday, the Puyehue volcano erupted in southeastern Chile prompting the evacuation of more than 3,000 residents. At one point, seismologists detected an average of 230 earthquakes per hour, 12 of which had a magnitude of more than 4.0 on the Richter scale.

The Chilean National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN) said the plumes have reached a height of approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). Residents in the surrounding region, including cities and towns across the border in Argentina, reported ash falling.

The last time the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle vents erupted was on May 24, 1960, 38 hours after a massive 9.5-magnitude earthquake struck off Chile. The country is also on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes.