Catania’s airport has been closed after the runway was rendered unusable by heavy volcanic ash from Mount Etna.

Flights to Malta have been delayed or cancelled. A flight that was supposed to arrive at 08.15am on Friday (today) morning is seemingly still delayed (as at 11am), while another flight due to arrive at 9.10am was cancelled.

The Sicilian volcano has had eruptive activity over the last 24 hours. On Thursday (yesterday), part of its airspace was closed and arrivals limited to just five per hour.

On Friday, the airport closed off the remaining airspace and announced that both arrivals and departures have been suspended.

“Flight operations will resume once the volcanic ash has been removed,” it said, estimating that activity could resume as early as 3pm on Friday afternoon.

“Passengers are therefore urged not to go to the airport without first checking the status of their flight with the airline.”

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