Just nine days after restoring normal operations in the aftermath of a terminal building fire, Sicily’s Catania airport has been forced to close owing to a volcanic eruption.

The airport had experienced a three-week closure of Terminal A, causing substantial flight disruption during the busy summer period, after a fire broke out on 16 July.

Catania’s operator was cleared to re-open the terminal on 5 August.

But the eruption of the highly-active Etna volcano has led to further air transport upheaval.

Etna plume-c-Italian Meteorological Service

Source: Italian Meteorological Service

Satellite photographs show the plume from Etna (circled) headed south towards the airport

Satellite images from the Italian meteorological service show the volcanic plume drifting south. The airport is located some 30km south of Etna’s peak.

NOTAM information states that the airport is “closed to all operations” owing to volcanic ash and “contamination” of its single runway 08/26.

Catania’s operator states that it expects to remain closed until at least 06:00 on 15 August.