Latin American Air Travel NewsOctober 17, 2011 By: Nicole Lowary
According to Travel Weekly, both Argentina and Uruguay suspended flights at major airports yesterday because of dangerous ash from neighboring Chile’s Puyehue volcano. The volcano has disrupted global travel since it erupted earlier this year. Authorities closed Jorge Newbery airport in Buenos Aires, while numerous international flights were suspended or cancelled at the Ezeiza airport south of Buenos Aires. 15 international flights were cancelled in Uruguay at Montevideo’s international Carrasco airport, which largely affected flights to Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Juan Pablo Schiavi, Argentina’s transport secretary, told local television that “we need the ash cloud to pass” before airlines could resume their operations. According to Argentina’s LAN Airlines, international and domestic flights were affected, including routes to Mendoza on the steps of the Andes Mountains toward the Chilean border, as well as Ushuaia in the far south. The eruption of the volcano in June, after being dormant for half a century, has hit air traffic in the southern hemisphere hard in recent months. It has paralyzed airports in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, as well as those in Australia and New Zealand.
The Associated Press reports that, according to officials at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the airport has received approval for direct flight service to Cuba. Travel to Cuba will still be highly restricted, with passengers requiring close relatives in Cuba or to be involved in the medical or agricultural business sectors. The Cuban government will also allow travel for religious activities and education. The approval for the flights was given in March by the U.S. government and will involve Cuba allowing non-stop flights from New Orleans to land. This does not mean the service has been started. Michelle Wilcut, an airport spokeswoman, said that the airport would need either an airline or an approved charter operator to make the flights.