230 flights and more than 20,000 passengers affected in the Canary Islands
Airports have tentatively started to reopen this evening after a total of 230 flights carrying more than 20,000 passengers have been affected by the closure of Gran Canaria airport, along with heavy restrictions on Tenerife South and Tenerife North due to the intense weather conditions in the archipelago. The low visibility, which was officially down to just 400 meters at LPA Gran Canaria, as little as 200m according to some air traffic controllers, has also led to the diversion of more than 30 aircraft which were bound for Gran Canaria.
Hundreds and hundreds of people stranded at the airport are trying to find temporary accommodation, while those flying with tour operators will very likely already have been placed in alternative hotels and apartments.
The intense dust storm that arrived this morning has thickly blanketed the skies over the Archipelago forcing the Spanish national Air Authority AENA to close the airport on Gran Canaria, which is now completely inoperative due to the low visibility and strong winds gusting up to 90kmph (more than 50 mile and hour winds). Over 25 flights have already been diverted to Fuerteventura, Tenerife South and even as far as Faro (Portugal) or back to London.
AENA has reported on social networks that due to “adverse weather conditions…at the moment no operations are being accepted. no arrivals or departures” and recommends that all those who have planned to catch a plane tonight or tomorrow get in touch with their flight company to find out the best course of action, but to avoid the airport.
The more than 30 flights that have not been able to land on Gran Canaria have been diverted mostly to Fuerteventura, Tenerife South, Faro and Málaga, although some of them have decided to return to origin after taking off, at least two of them to London and another from Iberia Express back to Madrid, according to the FlightRadar24 flight tracking website.
Already this morning, the meteorological situation had forced the diversion of another four flights in Lanzarote, while Fuerteventura continues to operate normally, according to AENA sources. On Tenerife North and South, arrivals of both international and national flights, that had not yet taken off from their destinations were limited or cancelled.
**The latest information as of around 10pm this evening is that operations have gradually resumed on #GranCanaria as well as at #TenerifeNorte and #TenerifeSur. The airports on #Fuerteventura and #Lanzarote remain open to attend futher possible detours #Canarias #calima