Brits begin returning home as Canary Island airports reopen following sandstorm

24 February 2020, 08:38

The sandstorm has covered Tenerife
The sandstorm has covered Tenerife. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

British holidaymakers were scrambling to get home from the Canary Islands today after a huge Saharan sandstorm caused travel chaos over the weekend.

All but one of the airports on the Canary Islands have reopened and flights from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma and North Tenerife Airports will be able to take off, according a statement from airport operator Aena.

But those departing South Tenerife continue to be grounded, the statement added.

Spain's airport operator Aena cancelled, suspended or diverted all flights to and from the islands on Sunday, citing low visibility.

Earlier, customer service staff at the airports said that the airports had remained open for passengers, despite there being no flights to board.

Passengers posted photographs of people sitting on the floor waiting for more information.

The airports on the Canary Islands have been closed
The airports on the Canary Islands have been closed. Picture: Getty

Greg Horsman, 29, was on holiday with his girlfriend and his friends on a Tui cruise and was due to fly home to Manchester on Saturday evening.

However, they were forced to stay in Gran Canaria for another two nights due to the storm.

He said: "It's frustrating. We're just ready to be home."

A spokeswoman for Tui said: "We would like to sincerely apologise to customers for the disruption caused by the adverse and changeable weather conditions in the Canary Islands on Saturday February 22 and Sunday February 23.

"The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we are working tirelessly to find the best solutions for all our customers."

The regional government issued a state of alert warning on Saturday, with residents advised to stay inside, close their windows and not travel.

Winds of up to 120 mph will blast the Canaries until Monday, the Spanish national weather service said.