Popocatepetl Volcano Eruption Prompts Six Airlines To Cancel Flights

Elaine Radford

The Popocatepetl volcano some 50 miles outside of Mexico's capital city of Mexico City spewed ash on Thursday -- prompting six American airlines to ground some aircraft.

However, Mexican officials disputed the need for the flight cancellations. According to the NBC report, Mexico City international airport representative Andres Gomez said, "The decision not to fly from Mexico City has been made by these airlines, but the airport is in operable conditions."

Large Mexican airline AeroMexico suspended their own flights for less than an hour on Thursday morning as a result of the new Popocatelpetl volcano ash fall.

CBS News said that there is a seven stage volcanic eruption warning system. Both Mexico City International and Toluca airports experienced the wave of flight cancellations after authorities raised the warning level to "yellow phase three."

The situation is still being monitored, but authorities have already said that they wouldn't evacuate the highly populated city of Mexico City as a result of the mostly ashy eruption. Instead, they have made preparations for people to shelter in place.

Mexico City Civil protection secretary Fausto Lugo said: "For us the main risk is the handling of ashes" to prevent water from being contaminated.

Right now, the affected neighborhoods are mostly reporting very minor problems like a light coating of ash.

No one is currently allowed to enter the seven mile safety zone now in place around the Popocatelpetl volcano.

Volcanic eruptions are not a rare event for El Popo, and some folks had a cynical reaction to the announcement that six US airlines had taken the opportunity to cancel flights:

— angel (@wcangel23) July 5, 2013

— Homero Hinojosa (@homero_hinojosa) July 5, 2013

The July 4 eruption so far hasn't proven to be very dangerous. But the natural fireworks on display at Mexico's Popocatepetl were certainly dramatic.

[Popocatelpetl Volcano photo by NASA]