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South American Flights Disrupted on Ash as Soccer Cup Starts

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Volcanic ash from an eruption in southern Chile has disrupted air travel in Buenos Aires as well as Montevideo, Uruguay and Asuncion, Paraguay as Argentina hosts the opening weekend of Latin America’s Copa America soccer tournament.

Lan Airlines SA, the region’s biggest airline by market value, suspended air travel to and from Buenos Aires and Montevideo yesterday, it said in a statement on its website. Aerolineas Argentinas SA, the country’s biggest carrier, canceled domestic flights and is rescheduling international trips, it said in an e-mailed statement. Both airlines are resuming some Buenos Aires flights today, the carriers said on their websites.

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA, Brazil’s second-biggest airline by market value, canceled flights in the two cities plus Asuncion, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. Lan said it would increase the number of flights on July 2 to accommodate passengers whose travel plans were disrupted the previous day.

“Lan is constantly monitoring events,” the airline said in the statement.

The Argentinean airports of Ezeiza and Aeroparque in Buenos Aires resumed some operations after weather conditions improved, El Clarin newspaper reported on its website, without citing anyone.

Airport Operations

Seismic activity at the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex, which erupted June 4, is decreasing, Chile’s geological and mining authority known as Sernageomin said in a statement on its website June 30. Authorities are characterizing eruptions as “minor” and don’t rule out an increase in intensity, it said.

Airports in southern Chile are operating normally, the country’s aeronautical authority known as DGAC said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.

The ash has also disrupted travel in Australia and New Zealand. Aerolineas Argentinas’s Auckland and Sydney routes have been forced to run on an “irregular” schedule, the airline said yesterday. Lan Airlines on July 3 will operate a special flight to Sydney via Tahiti, “climatic conditions permitting,” it said.

Argentina is hosting the Copa America, or America’s Cup, soccer tournament, which is starting with the first round of matches this weekend.

To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at rwoods13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net

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