Flights suspended as Mount Etna spews lava and ash

Sicily’s Mount Etna has erupted, sending ash and lava high over the Mediterranean island, forcing flights to be suspended and leaving tourists facing holiday disruption.

The Italian volcano, which at 3,330m (10,925 ft) high is Europe’s tallest and most active, began erupting overnight, officials said.

Although the lava flow subsided before dawn, ash was still coming from one of the craters.

Pic: Etna Walk/Marco Restivo

No flights will go in or out of Catania, a popular tourist destination, until 8pm (6pm, UK time), the airport said on X, formerly known as Twitter, and earlier on Monday, the airport itself was temporarily closed.

Several British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet and KLM flights have been cancelled, delayed, or diverted to other airports on the island.

Catania International Airport said: “Due to Etna’s eruptive activity and fallout of volcanic ash, flight operations are suspended until 8pm.”

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Pic: Etna Walk/Marco Restivo

The airport, which serves eastern Sicily, saw around 10 million passengers last year.

With many streets covered in ash, the city has banned the use of motorbikes and bicycles for 48 hours.

Motorists were also ordered to drive no faster than 30kmph (19mph) due to the skiddy conditions.

The timing could hardly be worse for the popular tourist destination, coming less than a month after a fire at a terminal saw flights disrupted for weeks and forced the airport to close temporarily.

Etna’s last major eruption was in 1992.

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