Canary Islands flights getting back to normal after Sahara sandstorm delays

Finnair's two flights on Monday from Helsinki to the Canary Islands are operating as normal, and on time although Spanish Airport operator Aena says delays are still possible.

Sandstorm over La Palma, Canary Islands, 23rd February 2020 / Credit: Dorothee Thiesing Instagram

Flights to and from the Canary Islands are getting back to normal on Monday, after hundreds of Finns were among the passengers delayed by a massive sandstorm, which blew in from the Sahara desert during the weekend.

Spanish airports operator Aena says that all their airports in the Canary Islands are now able to operate “with reduced capacity” but urges passengers to check with the airline on the status of individual flights.

“This morning we had a flight leaving to Fuerteventura and that left normally, and later today we also have a flight leaving to Las Palmas” a Finnair spokesperson tellsĀ News Now Finland.

The only returning flight on Monday will be from Fuerteventura to Helsinki later in the afternoon.

Some Finnair weekend flights were delayed by several hours – and in one case a plane had to make a stop at a mainland Spanish airport en route to the Canary Islands – but got to their destinations eventually.

“During the weekend we had flights and return flights that were delayed between two to five hours but no flights were canceled” says Finnair.

Visibility at Las Palmas airport was reduced to 400 meters as authorities closed the runway, leading to a backlog of flights.

Roughly 1200 passengers were impacted on six Finnair flights, and a Norwegian flight had to turn back to Helsinki because of Canary Islands runway closures.