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Costa Rica’s San Jose Airport Reopens After Volcanic Eruptions

San Jose Airport Reopens after Volcanic Eruptions from San José’s Turrialba Volcano

Costa Rica VolcanoCosta Rican officials have reopened the country’s main airport in the capital of San José after the Turrialba Volcano eruption on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Turrialba Volcano erupted three times Thursday (and state observers recorded a smaller eruption Friday morning), causing ash to spread over the capital city of San José which lead to the closing of Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport.

The Juan Santamaria International Airport reopened around midday Friday after remaining closed through Thursday night. Costa Rica’s air security agency says the ash on the runways could pose a risk, as could the impaired visibility from the plume of ash. The local Tobias Bolanos airport also was closed intermittently. The country’s public education ministry suspended classes Friday at 12 schools near the volcano.

The Costa Rica Times Reports on San José’s Volcanic Eruptions

The Costa Rica Times Reports: Despite ongoing ash exhalations from the Turrialba volcano in the province of Cartago, officials from the Directorate of Civil Aviation agreed to allow flight operations to resume at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in the province of Alajuela.

SJO was closed yesterday afternoon due to low visibility and heavy accumulation of volcanic ash covered the runway. As previously reported by The Costa Rica Star, the airport was due to reopen at 8:00 am on Friday; however, crews were still busy clearing ash off the runway and the terminal.

More than 100 flights were canceled at SJO due to the volcanic conditions. Two major eruptions in the afternoon hours launched thick ash columns reaching more than 1,000 meters into the air. Windy conditions carried the volcanic ash across the Central Valley and into Alajuela, where it accumulated at SJO.

Stranded travelers crowded the passenger terminal at SJO; some of them had been waiting since yesterday to depart Costa Rica. Aviation officials called up additional personnel to staff the ticketing, customs, security, and immigration sections of SJO. Passengers whose flights were canceled due to the Turrialba eruptions should contact their airlines for the purpose of creating a new itinerary.

A spokesperson for Aeris, the management firm in charge of SJO operations, explained that this reopening should be seen as temporary and tentative. It is important to remember that the Turrialba volcano is unpredictable at this point, and the most recent ash eruption took place at 10:33 am, just 27 minutes prior to the announcement made by Aeris about the reopening.