Ash Cloud Update: Operations on Schedule at Cape Town International Airport
Flights in and out of Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) returned to schedule today as the ash cloud created by a recent volcanic eruption in Chile passed over. The ash cloud forced several operators to either cancel or delay flights over the weekend.
Western Cape Tourism Minister, Alan Winde, was informed of the possible disruption to flight schedules in the southern hemisphere two weeks ago: "Shortly after the Puyehue volcano erupted, the General Manager of the CTIA informed me that the ash cloud may affect flights in and out of Cape Town. It passed south of us the first time around, circled the globe, and entered our airspace the second time around after being pushed north by the cold front."
The General Manager of CTIA, Deon Cloete, said: "In total, around 13 departing and 12 arriving flights were affected. We immediately deployed additional ground staff to assist passengers with information and to provide support to the airlines. We also increased staff at the security checkpoint in order to make sure people pass through quickly once the flights were back up and running. Through our Airport Management Centres at the three main international airports, we ensured that all parties took decisions in a collaborative manner and were able to quickly respond as and when required."
The airlines made every effort to alert passengers about cancelled or delayed flights, and arranged hotel accommodation for affected passengers where necessary.
Currently there are no active warnings relating to the ash cloud; however, the relevant authorities are monitoring the situation closely in the event of any alerts.
Minister Winde said: "Our first priority is for the safety of travellers. Because it passed so quickly and was excellently handled by the staff at the CTIA, the ash cloud will have a minimal impact on our tourism economy. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Deon Cloete and all his ground staff for working around the clock this weekend to make sure that affected passengers were accommodated and comfortable - the airport operates as well during incidents as it does during major events. Operations at the airport have returned to normal and we look forward to welcoming travellers and tourists to the Western Cape."
Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde
Tel: 021 483 4327
Cell: 082 378 2235
Fax: 021 483 3892