Spain reopens airport shut by Canaries volcano

Los Llanos de Aridane (Spain) (AFP) –


The airport on the Canary island of La Palma reopened on Sunday after a 24-hour closure because of ash emanating from the Cumbre Vieja volcano, operators said.

A clean-up operation was carried out overnight, the airport management company AENA tweeted, adding that flights have resumed with the "prior agreement" of air traffic control authorities.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life a week ago and has intermittently spewed out lava and ash.

On Friday, a large cloud of thick, black ash forced several airlines to cancel flights.

Then on Saturday AENA announced the full closure of the airport.

New evacuations were also ordered as large explosions and new openings were reported at the volcano on Friday.

So far, more than 6,200 people have been evacuated.

According to the European Union's Copernicus Earth Observation Programme, lava has so far destroyed 461 buildings -- 41 more in the past 24 hours -- and covered more than 212 hectares (523 acres) of land.

No casualties have been reported so far but the damage to land and property has been enormous, with the Canaries regional head Angel Victor Torres estimating the cost at well over 400 million euros ($470 million).

The island's main economic activity is banana cultivation.

The eruption on La Palma, home to 85,000 people, was the first in 50 years.