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Guatemalan Volcano Erupts, Kills 62 and Shuts Down Airport

June 04, 2018
3 min read
Guatemalan Volcano Erupts, Kills 62 and Shuts Down Airport

Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) erupted on Sunday, killing at least 62 people as it spewed lava into the surrounding countryside and darkened the sky with thick clouds of ash.

The volcano, which is located in a rural region about 25 miles outside of the Central American country's capital, Guatemala City, sent clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air.

Several people have been reported missing as the the lava gushes into residential areas, burning houses and roads at a temperature of up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. Two children burned to death while watching the eruption from a nearby bridge, and at least four people died in a house that caught fire from the lava flow, according to the AP.

At least 3,000 people have been evacuated from the eruption zone — some residents were reportedly trapped by surrounding lava and unable to leave or receive help from first responders. Several people have also been reported missing.

The country's aviation officials closed the Guatemala City Airport (GUA) on Sunday because the thick plumes of ash posed significant risks to aircraft flying into the city of about 3 million. Military was called in to sweep ash from the airport's runway:

The airport was re-opened on Monday after the ash was cleared from the runways. But airport officials said it is up to each airline when to resume flights, the AP reports.

Here is a roundup of the latest travel waivers from airlines that serve Guatemala City's airport:


  • Affected airports: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
  • Travel dates: June 3 - 5, 2018
  • Can travel June 3 - 8, 2018
  • Must have bought your ticket by: June 3, 2018
  • Don't change your origin or destination city
  • Rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference


  • Affected airports: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
  • Impacted travel dates: June 3-5, 2018
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: June 08, 2018
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: June 08, 2018
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond June 08, 2018, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue. If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.


  • Affected airports: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
  • Travel dates: June 3-5, 2018
  • Modification Charge/Fare Difference waived through: June 8, 2018; After this date, the modification charge is waived, but a fare difference may apply.


  • Affected airports: Guatemala City, GT (GUA)
  • Original travel dates: June 3, 2018 - June 4, 2018
  • Flight changes: The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before June 7, 2018, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

*This post has been updated with the latest numbers in the volcano's death toll.

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images