Caribbean Airlines cancelled its Friday flights between Guyana and Barbados as well as Saturday services to and from St. Vincent, following explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano that caused ash falls, which scientists said “pose a significant threat to flight safety”.
The Trinidad-based airline said that due to the volcanic activity, it would not be operating flight BW 200 scheduled for Barbados-St Vincent-Grenada and flight BW 201 from Grenada to Barbados on Saturday.
That announcement came after the first volcanic eruption at 8:41 a.m., which sent ash plumes as high as 29,000 feet.
A team from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), which is monitoring the volcano in St Vincent, cautioned that “regional aviation interests can also expect to be impacted by volcanic ash. The volcanic ash poses a significant threat to flight safety”.
Caribbean Airlines issued a release later in the evening, after the second eruption which occurred around 2:45 p.m., informing that flights BW 215 and 217 from Ogle, Guyana to Barbados, which were scheduled to operate on Friday, had also been called off.
“All passengers have been contacted and will be accommodated on next available services,” it said in both statements.
Since then, the UWI-SRC team said a third explosive eruption occurred around 6:35 p.m.
“As explosive eruptions continue at La Soufriere, volcano ash fall will be a pervasive hazard throughout St Vincent and is expected to reach neighbouring islands such as Barbados. Volcanic ash is not necessarily deadly but can lead to respiratory problems and may also impact vehicles and plane engines,” the scientists said.
It is estimated that phases of explosive eruption are likely to continue for days and possibly weeks.