Bloomberg News

Argentine Airports Resume Flights After Ash Disruptions

June 10, 2011

(Adds resumption of flights starting in first paragraph.)

June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Flights from Argentina’s capital will start to return to normal this afternoon after ash spewing from a volcano in Chile prompted cancellations this week.

Flights to the U.S. by AMR Corp.’s American Airlines will depart on time tonight, according to the airport information service. Lan Airlines SA, Latin America’s biggest carrier by market value, said it will resume flights in and out of Buenos Aires’s two international airports this afternoon and restore full service by tomorrow. Montevideo flights will restart tomorrow, Lan said in an e-mailed statement.

Aerolineas Argentinas SA, the country’s biggest carrier, and its sister company Austral, will resume operations after 5 p.m. New York time, according to a statement on the government’s website.

The ash cloud created by an eruption that started on June 4 in the Andes Mountains in southern Chile yesterday prompted airlines to cancel about 320 flights in and out of the two airports, according to the terminals’ operator, Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 SA.

Ashes, which can damage airplane engines, were spread through the first 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) of the atmosphere earlier today, Argentina’s Transport Secretariat said in an e- mailed statement.

Meeting Canceled

A gathering today of economy ministers and central bank chiefs from South America was canceled after Buenos Aires was powdered with a light coating of wind-carried ash from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex. Airspace across Argentina’s southern Patagonia region remains closed.

Runways at the two Buenos Aires airports were cleaned last night. In the southern ski resort town of Bariloche, waves of the dusty debris washed up along the shoreline of Lake Nahuel Huapi, part of the country’s oldest national park that stretches to the mountainous border with Chile.

The ashes also disrupted flights in southern Brazil. Arrivals and departures from the city of Porto Alegre were canceled at 10:40 a.m. local time, the government’s airport operator Infraero said. Sao Paulo-based Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA said in an e-mail that its flights to Porto Alegre, Caxias do Sul, Chapeco, Buenos Aires and Montevideo remained canceled today.

American Airlines has placed several aircraft in Santiago to make extra flights to move people out of the area later today if flights are possible, said spokesman Tim Smith by e-mail from Forth Worth, Texas. Delta Air Lines Inc.’s flight to Atlanta tonight will depart on time, according to the airport information.

Salmon Farms

In Chile, some salmon farmers along the Pacific coast moved stocks to safer areas, industry association SalmonChile said yesterday. The eruption should have a “limited” impact on stocks, the association said.

The Chilean government’s emergency service, known as Onemi, maintained an alert for communities in the Los Rios and Los Lagos regions as volcanic and seismic activity continued. The volcano could erupt for an additional 10 days, Chilean Mining and Energy Minister Laurence Golborne said June 8.

The Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex previously had major eruptions in 1921-22 and 1960, according to the Washington-based Smithsonian Institution.

Lan slid 1.9 percent to 12,755 pesos in Santiago at 3:09 p.m. New York time, the lowest in almost two months. Tam SA declined 2.8 percent to 32.5 reais in Sao Paulo trading. Gol fell for a third day, losing 1.3 percent to 18.9 reais.

--With assistance from Randall Woods in Santiago, Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas, Katerina Petroff in Sao Paulo and Fabiola Moura in New York. Editors: Richard Jarvie, Harry Maurer

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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