(QCOSTARICA) Although airport operations have not been suspended, up to 30 flights into and out of the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) international airport have been affected during the last 48 hours due to the sustained activity of the Turrialba volcano.

The ash cloud as seen from Palmares, northeast of the Central Valley, at twilight Thursday. Photo Edith Tropper, La Ncion
The ash cloud as seen from Palmares, northwest of the Central Valley, at twilight Thursday. Photo Edith Tropper, La Ncion

San Jose airport (SJO) operator, Aeris Holdings, said reports of ash in the area of the airport led some airlines to suspend flights.

According to Silvia Chaves, Aeris spokesperson, 18 flights were affected on Wednesday and 11 by Thursday evening.

The majority of the affected flights are from North America.

Chaves said the decision by airlines to cancel flights is based their internal protocols. Among the airlines cancelling flights are American Airlines (from Miami), and Southwest Airlines (from Houston, Texas).

Screen capture of San jose flights information
Screen capture of San jose flights information

Cubana Airlines cancelled flight 216 from Havana; Jetblue reported delays on in its flights from Orlando; Aeromexico coming from Mexico; British Airways cancelled flight 2237 from London; and Iberia to Madrid.

The effect of the early morning (5:30am) sun  Thursday morning turned the ash cloud reddish. Photo (Elieth Romero), La Nacion
The effect of the early morning (5:30am) sun Thursday morning turned the ash cloud reddish. Photo (Elieth Romero), La Nacion

By midmorning Thursday, the plume of gas and ash reached heights of more than 1,000 metres (1 kilometre) over the crater of the Turrialba volcano, affecting many areas of the Central Valley, such as La Union, Tres Rios, Coronado, Curridabat nd reaching areas like Cuidad Colon, Santa Ana and Alajuela, where the airport is located.

According to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori) – Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, the Turrialba volcano activity has been stable.

Experts say the lack of heavy precipitation during the last couple of days, this due transition from the rainy to the dry season in the Central Valley, and wind bursts of up to 40 km/h in the area of the volcano is responsible for the ash reaching the Central Valley.

If you are travelling to Costa Rica in the coming days, best is to check with your airline with the status of your flight.


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