A plume of volcanic ash from Etna forced the closure of Catania airport in Sicily as the largest active volcano of Europe woke up on Monday.
The Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology reported lava flows from the southeast crater, 2,900 m above sea level. Ash rained on the Rifugio Sapienza, a popular stopover for tourists visiting Mount Etna. The authorities of Catania airport have decided to halt all flight activity until at least 1:00 p.m. Monday because of the ash. Volcanic ash is very fine and could be dangerous to airplanes if sucked into jet engines.
We should remember that Catania airport, the most important in Sicily, saw one of its hangars burnt down on the night of July 15 to 16, forcing the authorities to close it for three days to allow the damage to be repaired. The passengers who were present there were all evacuated by the security personnel, a thick smoke having invaded a large part of this international airport.