QCOSTARICA (12:32AM) – Civil Aviation (Dirección General de Aviación Civil) confirmed it will be re-opening the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) airport at 4:00AM Friday morning, after a 10 hour lockdown.
Silvia Chaves, spokesperson for Aeris Holding Costa Rica that manages the airport, said crews will working throughout the night and early morning hours as sweepers with special machinery remove the ash that fell on the runway Thursday.
The high concentration of volcanic material on the runway was considered internationally as unsuitable for landing and takeoff of aircraft, according to Alvaro Vargas, head of Civil Aviation.
The closure affected 14 flights en route to San Jose from Miami, Dallas, New York, Guatelama and Panama, while four outbound flights by Avianca and Copa airlines, with destinations to Panama, El Salvador, Bogota and Guatemala were grounded.
The terminal was closed off at 6:00PM Thursday following an eruption of the Turrialba volcano at 4:30PM
The column of ash and gas from the eruption that last 15 minutes did not rise above 50 meters over the crater, but was very dense and the winds blowing it west, according to Javier Pacheco, aexpert at the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori).
The ash spread to many areas of the Central Valley, including downtown San Jose, La Sabana, Escazú and Alajuela.
On March 12, the 16 hour closure of the airport due to a Turriabla resulted in a cancellation of 111 flights and affecting more than 7,000 passengers.
To check status of flights at the San Jose airport, visit Fly2sanjose.com.