Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) and Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) have been asked by authorities in Sicily to begin flights between Catania and Palermo after a landslide forced the closure of a section of the main A19 highway which connects the two cities.

The ItaliaVola flight blog states that as train service provider, Trenitalia, has been overwhelmed by demand, so the two carriers have been approached to help restore the 191 kilometre-long sector that is critical to the island's economy.

Local media reports state one of the pylons supporting the Himera viaduct on the A19 highway cracked and buckled after it was hit by a landslide. The resulting instability has rendered the section unsafe for use. Following an inspection late last week, Italian Minister of Infrastructure Graziano Delrio announced the viaduct would have to be demolished.