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U.S. Airlines Cancel Mexico Flights Due To Volcano

Mexico City — At least six U.S. airlines canceled 47 flights into and out of the Mexico City and Toluca airports yesterday after the Popocatepetl volcano spewed ash, steam and glowing rocks, airport officials said.

Mexico City airport spokesman Jorge Gomez said U.S. Airways, Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines canceled the flights as a precaution. But he said the airport otherwise continues to operate normally and that by yesterday afternoon no ash had reached the area, about 40 miles northwest from the volcano.

Gomez said that among the routes affected by the cancelations were flights to Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago and Los Angeles.

At nearby Toluca airport, Spirit Airlines canceled flights from Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, said spokesman Alejandro Munoz.

The airport, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) from Mexico City, also continued to operate normally, Munoz said.

While there was no volcanic ash falling near the Mexico City airport, residents in the capital’s southern neighborhoods reported seeing a light coating on their cars and homes.

Mexico City civil protection secretary Fausto Lugo said the main risk for the metropolis is people not knowing how to handle ash and how to protect potable water from getting contaminated.

Authorities registered several tremors Thursday at the 17,886-foot volcano, which has been spraying a fountain of hot rock and ash for the last 24 hours. Federal civil protection authorities established a 7-mile safety radius around the Popocatepetl.