Canary Islands are engulfed by Saharan sandstorm causing travel chaos

Canary Islands are engulfed by Saharan sandstorm causing travel chaos for holidaymakers with flights cancelled and airports closed

  • A storm carrying clouds of red sand from the Sahara has hit the Canary Islands, severely reducing visibility  
  • The conditions have forced Spain’s airport operator AENA to suspend all flights in and out of Gran Canaria 
  • Spain’s national weather service warned winds of up to 75 mph are set to buffet the Canaries until Monday 

A storm carrying clouds of red sand from the Sahara has hit the Canary Islands, shrouding the region in a haze of orange. 

The conditions have forced Spain’s airport operator AENA to suspend all flights in and out of Gran Canaria and all flights leaving Tenerife on Saturday evening amid severely reduced visibility.  

At least 19 flights to Gran Canaria were diverted, a spokeswoman for AENA said. She did not specify which airlines had been affected.

A view of the runway during a sandstorm blown over from North Africa at Las Palmas Airport, Canary Islands, Gran Canaria on Saturday 

Grounded planes are seen parked on the tarmac during the sandstorm. The conditions have forced Spain’s airport operator AENA to suspend all flights in and out of Gran Canaria and all flights leaving Tenerife on Saturday evening amid severely reduced visibility.

Control tower is pictured amid clouds of red sand blown over from the Sahara

Budget carrier Vueling, a subsidiary of IAG, said some of its services had been hit and advised passengers to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

Spain’s national weather service warned that winds of up to 75 mph (120 kph) are set to buffet the Canaries until Monday. Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are likely to be the worst hit, the weather service said.

The regional government declared a state of alert and advised people to keep doors and windows closed across the archipelago, while authorities in Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife, cancelled all outdoor activities, including some carnival celebrations.

Located around 60 miles off the coast of Morocco, the Canaries are a popular tourist destination for northern Europeans in search of winter sun.

A plane is seen parked on a tarmac at Las Palmas Airport during the sandstorm blown over from North Africa on Saturday. The regional government declared a state of alert and advised people to keep doors and windows closed across the archipelago, while authorities in Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife, cancelled all outdoor activities, including some carnival celebrations

 

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