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Volcanic ash cancels Mexico flights

08 July 2013 09:36

US airlines cancelled flights as Popocatepetl volcano spewed ash and steam

US airlines cancelled flights as Popocatepetl volcano spewed ash and steam

Flights between the US and Mexico were cancelled on Thursday after ash, steam and glowing rocks spouted from the Popocatepetl volcano.

At least 47 flights to and from Mexico City and Toluca airports were cancelled by six US airlines.

Mexico City airport spokesman Jorge Gomez said the flights were cancelled as a precaution by US Airways, Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines and said the airport was otherwise operating normally.

No ash had reached the area, which is about 40 miles north-west of the volcano, by Thursday night, he added.

Nevertheless, such incidents may serve as a reminder for holidaymakers to ensure they have appropriate travel insurance in place whatever their destination this summer.

In this instance Mr Gomez confirmed that flights to Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago and Los Angeles had all been affected by the cancellations.

Spokesman Alejandro Munoz also confirmed at nearby Toluca airport that Spirit Airlines had cancelled flights from Dallas and Fort Lauderdale.

That airport is situated around 35 miles from Mexico City and Mr Munoz said it was also otherwise operating normally.

No volcanic ash has fallen near the Mexico City airport, but locals in the capital's southern neighbourhoods said they had seen a light coating on their cars and homes.

Mexico City civil protection secretary Fausto Lugo said the main risks are a lack of knowledge about how to handle ash and how to prevent potable water from becoming contaminated.

The capital would not be evacuated if there were an eruption, he added.

Several tremors were registered by the authorities on Thursday at the 17,886ft volcano, which has been spraying a fountain of hot rock and ash.

A seven-mile no-go-area was set up around the volcano and no vehicles were allowed to travel through the Paseo de Cortes, which is a mountain pass between the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes.

Popocatepetl is a distinctive sight on Mexico City's skyline on clear days.

The volcano sits roughly halfway between Mexico City and the city of Puebla.