Dozens of flights arriving and departing Anchorage have been canceled Thursday due to volcanic ash that has drifted over from Russia, with more airports around the state potentially affected as well.
Alaska Airlines reported at least 28 canceled flights as of 11:30 a.m. Alaska time, reporting that an “ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Russia” has affected airline operations around the state.
“As a safety precaution, we have canceled some flights to and from Alaska and within the state. We also expect flight delays throughout the day,” Alaska Airlines spokesperson Tim Thompson said.
Thompson said company flights are beginning to depart from Anchorage again, but future flights may be canceled, depending on the circumstances surrounding ash particles in the atmosphere.
The National Weather Service issued advisories related to the ash from Sheveluch Volcano, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.
The volcano erupted Tuesday and spewed ash over 12 miles into the atmosphere and 300 miles away.
A spokesperson with Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport said the airport was open and operational Thursday morning.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory put out a statement Thursday said Monday’s eruption of Sheveluch spewed an ash and gas cloud up to 40,000 feet high in the sky, causing it to drift eastward over the past several days.
The observatory said the ash cloud poses no immediate threat to Alaskans.
“Although this cloud poses a potential hazard to aviation and has disrupted some flights, no ashfall is expected on Alaska communities,” the observatory said.
Alaska Airlines said it will continue to monitor the ash cloud as it continues to move through the atmosphere, and said additional flights could be canceled in response.
“For our guests whose travel plans have been impacted, we appreciate their patience and understanding,” the airlines said.
Alaska Airlines advised travelers to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.
Grant Aviation also experienced cancelations Thursday morning; two flights departing from Kenai to Anchorage, and two more departing Anchorage enroute to Kenai. The company said a fifth flight was delayed due to the ash conditions. Grant said a total of 28 flights are scheduled on a daily basis.