An eastern wind blew masses of sand from the Sahara towards the Canary Islands. The airports Tenerife North, Tenerife South and Las Palmas had to halt their operations.
Flight X3-2668 took off from Leipzig Airport on Saturday with a slight delay. However, the Boeing 737 from Tuifly did not reach the Canary Islands. It had to turn around when it reached Spain. The passengers were back in Germany after five hours flying time.
Passengers on many other flights to the Spanish islands in the Atlantic either experienced the same or their flights were at least diverted. The airports Tenerife North, Tenerife South and Las Palmas had to close on Saturday. A heavy sandstorm swept over the islands. The so-called Calima – an east wind – blew about ten times more sand from the Sahara to the Canary Islands than usual.
This massively restricted visibility at the three airports. Saturday is the busiest day for the airports of the Canary Islands. On Sunday, the situation had normalized and operations were up and running again. But in the afternoon, Las Palmas had to be closed again and only to resume operations in the evening. At one time on Sunday afternoon all airports on the islands were closed.