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Anchorage Airport Reopens After Volcano Eruption

March 30, 2009 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport reopened Sunday, offering relief for thousands of passengers stranded by gritty volcanic ash blanketing runways.

The Anchorage airport was closed Saturday evening because of fallout from another eruption of Mount Redoubt. The dusting of fine ash poses a potential hazard for aircraft engines.

Mount Redoubt emitted low-level tremors Sunday but no more eruptions, monitors at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said. Seismic activity increased when a plume rose 25,000 feet above sea level, but scientists said it appeared to be only vapor. They did not count those tremors among Redoubt's 18 eruptions during the past week.

Anchorage is about 100 miles northeast of the volcano.

Two runways opened Sunday, and a third was expected to open later. If officials determine swirling ash is causing problems for aircraft, the airport could halt operations again. But that hadn't happened by 7 p.m.

Since the volcano's latest outburst began Saturday afternoon, Alaska Airlines has canceled more than 70 flights, an airline spokesman said. To confirm the status of their flight, travelers should check or call 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522).

Since the volcano began erupting March 22, Alaska Airlines has canceled 235 flights, affecting more than 10,000 passengers. Spokesman Paul McElroy said extra flights could be added to handle the backlog.

McElroy said the airline will not be able to accommodate standby passengers until after April 1.

Flights to other parts of Alaska, including Fairbanks and Juneau, are not affected by the eruption.

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