Catania Airport stays closed until Tuesday

 Tuesday, July 25, 2023

No flights to or from the UK and Ireland will land at Catania Airport until 26 July.

Flights at Catania Airport, on the southern Italian island of Sicily, are severely disrupted after a fire. No one was injured and the cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

The airport was meant to reopen earlier this week but authorities have now said that Terminal A, where the fire happened, will reopen on 25 July.

In the mean time, many flights are being cancelled or diverted to other airports in Sicily, which are struggling to cope with the sudden increase in passengers.

Catania’s Vincenzo Bellini Airport serves 91 destinations of which 24 are domestic, according to a website.

100,000s passengers are predicted to be affected by the disruption.

Flights cancelled or moved to other airports

The situation at Catania airport is creating chaos for both inbound and outbound travellers during Sicily’s busy summer season.

The airport’s Terminal C is still operational, but only 4 flights are landing per hour until 26 July.

The airport has set up air-conditioned tents outside the terminal to process passengers.

As confirmed in a Notice to Airmen, no non-Schengen flights will land at or depart from Catania airport until 26 July.

Non-Schengen countries include UK, USA, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria.

Some airlines are proactively cancelling all flights, such as the UK’s Jet2 which has cancelled all flights in and out of Catania until 3 August.

While other airlines are diverting flights to other airports around Sicily.

But many passengers are only being told where their flight leave from or land the night before they are due to travel.

Where are Catania flights being diverted to?

Flights are being diverted to other airports in Sicily such as Palermo, Trapani and Comiso.

Comiso airport is a two-hour drive from Catania airport; both are on the east of the island.

Whereas Palermo and Trapani are on the west of the island therefore four-five hours drive from Catania.

Comiso and Trapani airports are significantly smaller than Catania airport so they are reported to be struggling with the sudden increase in flights and passengers.

They have been described as being “in chaos” and “under stress” as workers try to process 6-7,000 more passengers than usual in temperatures above 40C.

It has also been reported that Sigonella, a military airport close to Catania, may also start to operate diverted flights.

How to travel between Sicily’s airports?

Authorities say that free shuttles are being provided between Catania and Palermo, Comiso and Trapani airports, where flights are being diverted to.

They have not given further information on where they are leaving from, capacity or how to ensure you have a seat.

However there are reports that information on this transport is being provided to passengers at airports and on incoming and outbound flights.

Along with the free transport being provided by the airports, Alibus has increased the frequency of its shuttle buses between Catania airport and the city centre. These will also stop at Catania’s main train station.

Trenitalia has increased the frequency of trains between Catania and Palermo airports.

There are car hire companies at Sicily’s airports but these are likely to be overwhelmed with demand.

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