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First aircraft lands in Bariloche over a month after the Puyehue volcano eruption

Tuesday, July 19th 2011 - 04:49 UTC
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The airport was covered with a coat of several centimetres of sandy, metallic ash The airport was covered with a coat of several centimetres of sandy, metallic ash

Over a month after the eruption of the Caulle-Puyehue volcano in Chile, a first flight landed in the airport of Argentina’s ski resort Bariloche. The chartered flight arrived from Sao Paulo with 120 Brazilian tourists.

According to the city’s head of the Tourism Office, Daniel Gonzalez, the flight from Andes Lineas Aereas arrived at the international airport Tte Luis Candelaria al mid day Sunday.

“It is good news; it’s evidence that the airport is operational and that we are enjoying good weather conditions after weeks of inconveniences” said Gonzalez.

The airport had been closed down since last June 4 when the Puyehue-Caulle volcano first erupted spewing tons of sandy metallic ash into the atmosphere threatening air traffic in the south of the continent, (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, South of Brazil) and on occasions pushed by winds as far as New Zealand and Australia, and to South Africa.

The landing strip of the Bariloche airport was covered with a film several centimetres high of ash, which contains components of silicate and sulphuric gases that hovering at high altitude can damage avionics and even paralyze turbines in mid flight.

Although Argentina’s Civil Aviation Administration reopened operations in Bariloche last week, the first flights for the winter sky season were landing in Esquel, 300 kilometres away, from where tourists were driven to the resort.

Bariloche is just over 100 kilometres east from the Chilean Caulle-Puyehue volcano and was the first Argentine city to receive the full impact of the eruption.

Covered in ashes that with rain and snow turned into a thick crust, Bariloche was declared in a “state of economic and social disaster”

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