“Due to the eruptive activity of Etna and copious amounts of volcanic ash on the airport surfaces, flight operations are suspended until safety conditions are restored,” Catania airport said in a statement.
Loud rumbles could be heard in the region from early Sunday, reported newspaper Repubblica.
But heavy cloud around the volcano’s summit made it impossible to see the eruptions, the National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology said.
Still, local residents captured images and video showing smoke-filled skies and vehicles covered in silvery volcanic ash, which were shared widely by Italian news media.
— Local Team (@localteamtv) May 21, 2023
Some videos showed what looked like black volcanic stones raining from the sky amid the eruption.
— lasiciliaweb (@Lasiciliaweb) May 21, 2023
At 3,324 metres (nearly 11,000 feet), Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe and has erupted frequently in the past 500,000 years.
Around 10 million passengers last year transited through Catania International Airport, which services the eastern part of Sicily, one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations.