Catania airport: Terminal reopens but flights still cancelled or diverted

A fire broke out at Catania airport on Sunday night
A fire broke out at Catania airport on Sunday night Copyright Vigili del Fuoco
By Ruth Wright
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Travel in Sicily is slowly returning to normal after three weeks of chaos.


Almost three weeks on from a fire at Catania airport, on the southern Italian island of Sicily, the affected terminal has reopened

Terminal A, where the fire happened, officially reopened on Saturday night. However flights due to operate from the airport are still being diverted or cancelled.

Airport authorities have been criticised for their slow and disorganised response, with at least 40,000 nights of accommodation lost by hoteliers in Sicily since the fire.

If you are due to fly into or out of Catania, read on for advice from a journalist based in Sicily.

Catania airport: Why are flights still being cancelled and diverted?

At 5pm on 5 August, Catania airport announced it is "back in operation" and would "immediately return to normal operations."

However a quick scan of the airport's arrivals and departures boards today, 2 days later, doesn't show a fully operating airports. Of 24 flights scheduled to depart between 7 and 9am, 15 took off, 8 were cancelled and 1 was diverted.

The ongoing cancellations and diversions are likely because airlines had already planned their schedules before the reopening was announced.

Some passengers are reporting a good experience at the airport today. One user took to Twitter to say, "My flight with EasyJet is going as planned from Catania to the UK. Airport very civilised, no long queues. Bag drop and through security in under 20 minutes."

Where are Catania flights being diverted to?

Some flights are being diverted to other airports in Sicily such as Palermo, Trapani and Comiso.

Comiso airport is a two-hour drive from Catania airport; both are on the east of the island. Whereas Palermo and Trapani are on the west of the island therefore four-five hours drive from Catania.

How to travel between Sicily's airports

Free shuttles are being provided between Catania and Palermo and Comiso airports, where flights are being diverted to.

Catania airport is publishing the schedule for these buses on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. These schedules are usually published the night before for the following day.

It is not clear how long these shuttles will run for.

Catania airport tweet with information about one shuttle between Catania and Trapani airports that departed at midnight on Wednesday night

There are car hire companies at Sicily's airports but these are likely to be overwhelmed with demand.

Can you get to Sicily by train or ferry?

In short, yes.

On the east of the island, where Catania is, there are trains from Siracusa, a one-hour drive from Catania, that take you to the Italian mainland where you can then connect to international trains.

There are also ferries from Palermo to Naples and Genova. Check for more information on ferry routes. 

Rome2Rio is an excellent travel planning website.


Flying out of or into Malta airport may be a viable option for those already in the east of Sicily. Regular ferries, which take 1hr45mins, run from Pozzallo in south-east Sicily to Malta. Book with Virtu Ferries.

Catania airport cancellations: What should passengers do?

If you are due to fly into or out of Catania airport, the first step is to contact your airline or booking agent to find out if your flight is running.

This can be done via their website, app, email, phone or social media channels such as official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If they contact you to say your flight will be diverted to another airport, you have the right to accept the change or request a refund - details should be given in their communication to you.

Bear in mind that there is likely to be a delay in receiving your refund as airlines will have many to process.

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