Update Wednesday 21st June:
DECREASE OF THE VOLCANIC ACTIVITY OF THE CHILEAN VOLCANO PUYEHUE-CORDON CAULLE
According to Chilean Authorities, the volcanic activity of the volcano that erupted on June 4th, decreased. The ash cloud fell considerably within the last days from 7,5 to 1,2 kilometres. However, impacts on air traffic are still expected. In Argentina entire cities and rivers are covered by dense ash layers.
The situation of the affected areas in Southern Chile has normalised, so that the authorities could end the precautionary evacuation. Nevertheless the Chilean airline LAN cancelled several domestic flights in the south of the country for reasons of precaution. Due to meteorologists the Chilean ash cloud now circled the globe once and is reaching Australia again so that further disruptions of the air traffic in Oceania and South America are to be expected.
In Chile the touristic infrastructure outside the area around Puyehue works without constraints and our passengers will not be affected.
Update Thursday 16th June:
Despite being some 9,000km from the volcano itself, the worst of the ash now appears to be hovering about 3km above New Zealand. Australian flights/air traffic appears to be returning to some normality.
All Air New Zealand flights to and from the south island were cancelled yesterday whereas all international services were delayed. Possibly more importantly, all flights between New Zealand and Australia are grounded for the time being though Virgin and Quantas were looking to start the services again at some point soon.
Update Wednesday 15th June :
The Sydney Morning Herald sums up what’s going on down in Australasia which has been particularly badly hit over the past few days. It seems that Sydney and Melbourne are now clearing though Perth is about to get the ash cloud which means the airport is likely to close for a period.
Pura clients flying into South America from Australia have so far managed to get re-routed to come into Peru from LA instead of trying to get in via Buenos Aires. We appreciate their patience and good humour in adapting to this ever changing situation.
This from TAM (Brazil) airlines today:
As you are no doubt aware a volcanic ash cloud situation has been affecting the southern part of South America and has been causing disruption to flights and airports.
We are pleased to advise that TAM has resumed its services to and from Montevideo (MVD), Uruguay and all flights are operating as normal. All flights to and from Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport (EZE) and the Aeroparque (AEP) downtown airport have also now resumed.
As the weather conditions and the volcanic activies are constantly changing, TAM continues to analyze the available information about the density and dislocation of the ash cloud and the airline will advise should there be any change. Should you require any further information regarding travel to and from the airports mentioned in this statement you are kindly advised to call TAM’s Call Center for the latest updates.
UPDATE 11th June, 2011
The past 24 hours have been exciting. Our previous post on the eruption talked about the actual nature of the eruption and the impact on local people, the situation for them remains much the same. What has changed is that the ash cloud created by the eruption has started to drift around the continent, disrupting air travel.
Yesterday Buenos Aires airports, both domestic and international, were closed. These have now reopened. Santiago airport, Chile’s capital, experienced some disruption but was not closed. Today we have had notification that Iguassu airports on the Argentine/Brazilian border have been closed to all flights.
Some of Argentina’s regional airports remain closed: Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes, Junín de los Andes, Piedra del Águila, El Bolsón, Villa La Angostura and Trafulasí which are all near the Chilean border as well as Bahía Blanca out on the Atlantic coast some 680 kilómetros south of Buenos Aires.
The latest reports from La Tercera newspaper in Chile state that Lan (Chile’s national carrier) has started flying again to and from Argentina as the situation seems to be normalising, certainly to Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Cordoba.
Uruguay and Paraguay appear to be suffering some disruption and delays to their flights.
Being a essentially a meteorological phenomenon now, it’s really a case of waiting to see which way the wind blows. If you are flying to or from the eastern side of South America in the next few days then you should be prepared for possible delays. Ironically the western side of the continent, where the volcano is actually located, seems to be about the least affected.