Chilean volcanic ash grounds flights in Buenos Aires

13:31, July 27, 2011      

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All flights from the Argentine capital's airports were suspended Tuesday afternoon after ashes from an erupting Chilean volcano moved into the airspace of Buenos Aires, aviation authorities said.

All flights arriving or departing the Metropolitan Airport, which is used for domestic and regional flights, as well as all flights from the Ezeiza International Airport were canceled mid-afternoon.

"Flight operations at some airports have been affected because of the ashes expelled by the Puyehue volcano," said a statement from Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, the company which operates both airports.

Company spokesman Julio Scaramella said Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN Chile "have canceled all their services," and it was not yet known when air traffic would resume.

"There are no forecasts yet. The cloud's displacement has to be evaluated in order to know when we will get back to normal conditions," Scaramella said.

Although the airports have not been closed down, "it is every company's decision whether to suspend their flights or not," he said, explaining that flying through volcanic ash could damage an airplane's engines.

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