Volcanic eruption forces Caribbean Airlines to cancel flights

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Volcanic eruption forces Caribbean Airlines to cancel flights

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Volcanic eruption forces Caribbean Airlines to cancel flights
Thelma Etim
Apr 11, 2021

Caribbean Airlines has been forced to cancel a number of flights as the La Soufriere Volcano enters what is described as “an explosive eruptive phase” on the island of St Vincent, writes Thelma Etim.

The cancellations come just days after the airline’s airfreight division shipped life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from Miami to Barbados and Dominica.

The 9 April eruption of the only ‘live’ – potentially active – volcano, which stands 3,864ft above sea level on the island, sent a plume of fine rock particles ash into the air reaching parts of neighbouring Barbados and Saint Lucia. An estimated 16,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

In a post on its official Facebook page on 10 April, The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, the official source of information for earthquakes and volcanoes in the eastern Caribbean, stated: “The volcano has entered an explosive eruptive phase that may continue over the next few days and weeks. Explosions are expected to be of similar or larger magnitude.”

In the meantime, the carrier has cancelled operations on a number of routes, including flights to and from Antigua to Barbados, Barbados to Dominica, Barbados to St Vincent, Grenada to Barbados, Barbados to Ogle, Guyana, and Barbados to Kingston, Jamaica.

Marklan Moseley, general manager of cargo and new business at Caribbean Airlines, stated at the time: “Caribbean Airlines is well-placed to support our region in its efforts towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have successfully delivered COVID-19 vaccines to Barbados, Dominica and Guyana and are committed to continuing the swift, secure and seamless movement of these important shipments as the Caribbean rolls out vaccination programmes.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Caribbean Airlines Cargo has also been transporting humanitarian supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 test kits and electronic equipment for remote learning to support the region.

The airline, which recently commenced cargo services in Dominica after appointing a general service and sales agent (GSSA) and ground handling agent (GHA) there, also provides cargo services between Barbados and Dominica through its weekly flights between the islands as well as to the United States, Antigua, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.
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Re: Volcanic eruption forces Caribbean Airlines to cancel flights

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Volcano: Caribbean Airlines Cancels Flights in E. Caribbean
April 12, 2021

Caribbean Airlines has cancelled its flights between Guyana and Barbados as well as Saturday services to and from St. Vincent, following explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano that caused ash falls, which scientists said “pose a significant threat to flight safety”.

The Trinidad-based airline said that due to the volcanic activity, it would not be operating flight BW 200 scheduled for Barbados-St Vincent-Grenada and flight BW 201 from Grenada to Barbados on Saturday.

That announcement came after the first volcanic eruption at 8:41 a.m., which sent ash plumes as high as 29,000 feet.

A team from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), which is monitoring the volcano in St Vincent, cautioned that “regional aviation interests can also expect to be impacted by volcanic ash. The volcanic ash poses a significant threat to flight safety”.

Caribbean Airlines issued a release later in the evening, after the second eruption which occurred around 2:45 p.m., informing that flights BW 215 and 217 from Ogle, Guyana to Barbados, which were scheduled to operate on Friday, had also been called off.

“All passengers have been contacted and will be accommodated on next available services,” it said in both statements.

Since then, the UWI-SRC team said a third explosive eruption occurred around 6:35 p.m.

“As explosive eruptions continue at La Soufriere, volcano ash fall will be a pervasive hazard throughout St Vincent and is expected to reach neighbouring islands such as Barbados. Volcanic ash is not necessarily deadly but can lead to respiratory problems and may also impact vehicles and plane engines,” the scientists said.

It is estimated that phases of explosive eruption are likely to continue for days and possibly weeks.
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