At least a dozen Guayaquil airport arrivals and departures were cancelled or rerouted Saturday as a result of ashfall from the Sangay volcano. An international flight from Santiago, Chile was rerouted to Cuenca while one from Miami landed in Quito. At least 11 Quito to Guayaquil flights were cancelled.
According to Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, volcanic activity at Sangay has intensified since Thursday night, with ash and gas rising two kilometers above the volcano. “The wind direction is various but generally in a westerly direction,” the instituted said in a noon bulletin. “Ashfall has been reported in Guayas Province and in Guayaquil and we expect this to continue through tonight.”
The institute has issued an ash alert to Morona Santiago Province, where Sangay is located, as well as Chimborazo, Bolivar Guayas, Cañar and Azuay Provinces. It said it will extend the alert to Loja Province if winds shift to the southwest. “Wind direction is unpredictable at this point due to poor steering currents and a southwesterly shift is possible overnight and on Sunday.”
According to geologists at the institute, the number of eruptive explosions and earthquakes have increased since Friday. Monitors near the Sangay crater have registered more than 160 explosions since Friday morning. In addition, about 50 earthquakes have been recorded.
Management at Guayaquil’s José Joaquín de Olmedo airport said Saturday afternoon they have canceled all flights not already in the air, which include flights from Panama City, Madrid, Santiago and Miami. It also canceled flights from Quito and Cuenca.
“As of Saturday afternoon, the airport is closed due to the volcanic ash in the air,” the airport said in a statement. “We will keep airlines updated on the situation and assist domestic passengers in booking passage on inter-provincial buses.”