Clear skies over Bariloche


A cloud of ashes billows near the Puyehue volcano in Chile, 870 kilometers south of Santiago, on June 7, 2011.


Claudio Santana

Flights to the Argentine city of Bariloche have finally resumed, more than three months after the eruption of a volcano in Chile.

The eruption of the Puyehue volcano in the Andes mountains of southern Chile disrupted air travel for months as volcanic ash clouds threatened visibility and aircraft turbines, reports MercoPress.

Before the volcano's eruption, the Bariloche airport received about six daily flights. Located about 1,000 miles from Buenos Aires, Bariloche is a major tourism destination for skiing, hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Tourism officials said there was a marked decline in revenue this year compared to a normal winter season, MercoPress said. The FT reported recently on the scene on the ski slopes:

This lakeside Andean gem is usually crammed with skiers packing the slopes, hotels and restaurants. But now it is ghostly with locals walking down streets wearing face masks and goggles to protect themselves from the ashes. ...

This season, Villa La Angostura is expecting to lose $20m in cancelled hotel reservations and other lost revenues such as lift passes, skiing classes and equipment rental. Of the town’s 12,000 inhabitants, 2,000 have already left, hoping to find jobs elsewhere, as many depend on the brief June through September ski season.

The volcano interrupted flights across South America, including from Santiago, Montevideo and southern Brazil. 

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