Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano erupts 13 times in past day, prompting airport delays

By The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Center said Wednesday the Popocatépetl volcano, located just 50 miles from the country’s capital, has erupted 13 times in the past day and urged people to not try to climb it due to debris shooting out of the crater.

Volcanic ash from the Popocatépetl disrupted flights out of Mexico City’s largest airport on Tuesday and caused another airport even closer to the volcano to temporarily suspend activity.

Mexico City’s Benito Juárez international airport said at least 22 flights were cancelled due to safety concerns after ash was found in some planes during safety checks. Other flights were rerouted to different parts of Mexico.

In Puebla, a city close to the volcano, airport operations were temporarily suspended on Wednesday due to the gas and fumes coming from the “Popo”. The airport said staff was hard at work cleaning up the ash floating down from above.

Mexico City’s airport also warned Wednesday that “operations could be suspended” with its website showing a number of cancellations and delays.

“Our priority is safety in operations,” the airport’s official account posted on X, formerly Twitter, adding that it is continually monitoring flight conditions.

According to the airport, the ash has produced a slew of safety concerns. Volcanic ashes are especially dangerous for aviation, not only because they reduce visibility but because they can act as an abrasive, damaging an aircraft’s wings and fuselage. In airports, the ashes can coat runways, hurt airport personnel and cause a number of other logistical issues.

The volcano has been active for half a million years and regularly erupts. Last year, large eruptions caused alarm after nearby towns were coated in ash, but volcanologists called the activity “nothing new or surprising”.

Its last major eruption happened more than a thousand years ago.


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