Hawaii Volcano eruption: Are flights to and from Hawaii cancelled?
A devastating series of earthquakes in a 24 hour period caused Kilauea to erupt on Thursday, forcing thousands of locals to flee their homes to escape the lava flow.
The volcano, situated in the southern region of Big Island, has been active for more than 35 years, finally erupting after a sustained period of earthquakes struck the area.
Giant plumes of gas and ash were sent spiraling thousands of feet into the air, with lava spewing out of large fissures along the ground.
More than 26 houses have been destroyed or damaged in the resulting lava flow, causing residents to stay in nearby shelters.
A popular tourist destination, Hawaii has suffered regular eruptions over the last few centuries, but can you still fly there? Have any flights been cancelled?
Are flights to and from Hawaii cancelled?
The eruption comes at a time when Hawaii was enjoying a boom in tourism, with many US airlines adding the holiday destination to their routes.
Southwest Airlines announced new routes from four California cities this month.
Tourism to the state has steadily increased in the last few years, but this recent eruption has caused many potential holiday-goers to think twice about flying in.
Some airlines are offering customers the chance to change or rearrange their flights due to the eruption.
Hawaiian Airlines tweeted: ”#Kilauea Travel Update: Effective immediately, guests holding tickets for travel on Hawaiian Airlines flights to/from/via Hilo (ITO) or Kona (KOA), Hawaii, on 5/3-5/4, will be permitted a one-time reservation change with waiver of change fee.”
Other airlines are yet to update their travel notices, with United, Alaska and American airlines all yet to update their websites with new travel advice.
British travellers have been warned to monitor the situation closely.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “There has been a volcanic eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island and some local residents have been evacuated. British nationals in the area should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.”
What happened in Kilauea?
A 24-hour period of minor earthquakes dislodged the crater floor of the Hawaii volcano, causing an eruption to fire lava and toxic gas into the surrounding area.
More than 11 fissures have emerged near Leilani Estates, a town at the base of the volcano, causing a mass evacuation of more than 10,000 local residents.
A 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the crater floor and sent the lava out, spitting molten rock more than 11 metres into the air.
Officials have stated that locals should expect further activity in the coming days.
Tourist boats, hiking and general tours of Hawaii’s islands have been suspended until further notice.
Locals have been told to stay away from Big Island until the toxic gas and lava flow has cleared.
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