Strong aftershocks from New Zealand's deadly quake, plus a drifting ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Chile, disrupted flights, temporarily closed airports and stranded travelers in Australia and New Zealand on Monday. South American travelers also continued to be delayed.
New Zealand tourism officials are warning travelers to the Christchurch area to be prepared for more aftershocks after a pair of strong earthquakes Monday caused more damage to the city center, already devastated by the deadly quake in February. No deaths were reported from the recent aftershocks.
The aftershocks -- magnitude 5.5 at 1 p.m. and a magnitude 6.0 at 2:20 p.m. local time -- temporarily shut Christchurch International Airport. Sinkholes, falling rock and power failures were reported in the city and its suburbs. Because of the aftershocks, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand were waiving change fees for travelers whose flights were canceled or delayed.
But quakes weren't the only cause of travel problems. Strong high-altitude winds blew volcanic ash from an eruption in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain in southern Chile into New Zealand and Australian airspace, causing cancellations of dozens of flights for some airlines.