Continued ash cloud eruptions of the Puyehue volcano and changing winds have affected air traffic over Southern Chile since the weekend, forcing LAN and Sky Airline to cancel flights to the region.
East winds have allowed Argentina to recover from the effects of new ash clouds that closed down traffic in Buenos Aires a week ago, but wreaked havoc operations in the Chilean Lakes Region, where the volcano is located.
According to LAN, since 22 October, flights to Puerto Montt, Osorno and Temuco, all located within 200 km of Puyehue, remain cancelled while flights to somewhat more distant Valdivia and Balmaceda suffered some interruptions. LAN rescheduled its one-stop routes to Punta Arenas in the country's extreme south to non-stop flights, skipping scheduled stops in Puerto Montt and Balmaceda and routing the flights over Argentina.
The National Chilean Geology and Mining Service said last week that the eruption "had lowered intensity" but that its activity could "affect air navigations for months".
The Puyehue volcano, which is located in Southern Chile close to the Argentinean border, erupted on 4 June and has since repeatedly grounded flights in parts of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, occasionally even causing flight interruptions in Australia and New Zealand.