Travel Alert March 2021: Volcano Eruption Disrupts Travel in Guatemala

If Guatemala in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information — due to the eruption of a volcano, which temporarily forced an international airport to shut down.

Travel Alert March 2021: Volcano Eruption Disrupts Travel in Guatemala

La Aurora International Airport — which serves Guatemala City — was temporarily closed yesterday, Tuesday, March 23, 2021 by the Civil Aviation Authority of Guatemala due to being blanketed with ash from the active Pacaya volcano, which is located approximately 29 miles south of the airport.

Airplanes were covered in ash as well, which presents a danger to fly. Ash clouds from volcanoes can clog the engines of airplanes and cause them to malfunction – or stop working altogether.

The airport has since reopened to operations as of 9:00 this morning Eastern Daylight Time, as a light drizzle supposedly cleaned the air.

This is not the first time that volcanic activity has adversely affected Guatemala: at least 65 fatalities were reported as a result of the unexpected eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala just prior to noon on Sunday, June 3, 2018, which destroyed villages with hot rock fragments and mud; and a cloud of volcanic ash rose as high as 33,000 feet into the sky, causing daylight to darken enough to resemble nighttime.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If Guatemala is in your travel plans over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this volcanic activity which may affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of the affected areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

The only airline which has issued a travel alert as a result of this volcanic activity at the time this article was written is:

  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Guatemala for Tuesday, March 23, 2021 through Wednesday, March 24, 2021; and Sunday, March 28, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.


Volcanoes can be unpredictable and another eruption could occur; so be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

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