Canary Islands sandstorm disrupts flights in and out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport

A huge sandstorm which has swept across the Canary Islands has disrupted flights in and out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 24th February 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 12:41 pm

Tourists have been left stranded after a huge dustcloud from the Sahara swept across the Spanish islands over the course of the weekend.

Airport operator Aena cancelled, suspended or diverted all flights to and from the islands at the weekend, citing low visibility.

But on Sunday operations resumed at all airports except Tenerife South.

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The sandstorm has grounded flights in and out of the Canary Islands. (Photo: Getty Images).

The regional government has issued an alert, advising people to stay indoors and avoid travel.

Spain's national weather service forecast winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) in the Canaries until Monday.

Strong winds have carried a dense cloud of sand from the Saharan desert, some 500km (300 miles) across the Atlantic Ocean.

The sandstorm is visible from space, with satellite images showing it engulfing the islands, off the coast of north-west Africa.

The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma, are popular with European tourists in search of winter sun.

Hundreds of flights have been affected by the weather conditions, leaving tourists stranded at airports across the Canaries. On Sunday, 822 flights were affected, Aena said in a tweet.

Graham Whiteman, 30, arrived at Las Palmas airport at 5pm on Saturday night, but discovered his Tui flight back to Doncaster - which he was due to be on with his fiancee and her family - had been cancelled.

He said: "We were told we needed to check the boards for updates.

"We didn't get any and then at 1.30am we found a Tui rep, who then sorted us out with a hotel room on the other side of the island at 4am.

"We got an email at 7.58am saying a coach would be leaving the hotel at 8.30am to take us to the airport and we've been here ever since."

He added: "I am type 1 diabetic and when I explained to a Tui rep that I will not have enough insulin for the next 24 hours, their response was that they would deal with it when it becomes an emergency.”