A large localized storm, accompanied by heavy rain, hail and violent winds of up to 100 kilometres per hour hit the city of Santa Clara in Cuba yesterday (Apr. 28), affecting in particular Abel Santamaría International Airport.
The terminal lost much of its roof (about 800 square meters) and electricity was cut off.
No casualties have been reported, yet as a result of the situation, airport operations have been suspended and flights were transferred to other terminals near Villa Clara, such as Cienfuegos and Varadero.
Santa Clara travel: still possible
Speaking with PAX exclusively, Cuba's tourism authorities are handling the situation well, and have reassured that guests will not be disrupted.
"Since yesterday, we have been working hard to restore service at Abel Santa María airport in Santa Clara as soon as possible," said Carmen Casal Sánchez, director of the Tourism Section of the Consulate General of Cuba. It is important to know that in Cuba, there are 10 international airports, so it is still possible to travel to Santa Clara."
Santa Clara Airport is served by Air Transat, Air Canada and Sunwing from Montreal.
Air Transat had a scheduled return flight today, but was able to redirect that flight to another airport.
"Since Santa Clara airport is closed, we will operate from Varadero. Our customers in destination will therefore be transferred from their hotel to Varadero airport," said a spokesman for the carrier to PAX.
Sunwing has also spoken out, saying in a statement to PAX:
"On landing, guests were accommodated at the hotel on-site and brought to their vacation destination earlier this morning. Customers returning from Santa Clara last night were driven by road to Varadero to catch the flight. At this point, we have re-routed our customers' flight services to the surrounding airports and are currently transferring to their resorts from the departure airport. We are in close contact with the local authorities and are waiting for a further update on the planned reopening of the airport later in the day. No flight service has been cancelled."
This is a developing story.