Heavy rains paralyse airport on Spanish island of Mallorca

MADRID (Reuters) - Water cascaded from the ceiling and planes were grounded on flooded runways at the airport of Palma, the capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca, as heavy rains swept over the popular tourist destination on Tuesday.

The storm brought all activity to a halt at Son Sant Joan airport, Spain's third-biggest, due to the "impossibility of operating safely", operator Aena said in a statement.

The airport activated its emergency plan and flights to Mallorca were temporarily re-routed to alternative airports, Transport Minister Oscar Puente said.

Puente later said on social messaging platform X that the airport was resuming operations as the rain subsided.

National weather agency AEMET said its station at the airport recorded rainfall of nearly 5 centimetres (2 inches) per hour, with peaks of up to 9 cm in less than an hour.

Videos posted on X appeared to show water streaming from the ceiling of the airport's shopping area, travellers in summer clothes drenched by water leaking through the windows and seeping out of buckets placed underneath. Others featured cars struggling to traverse a flooded parking lot.

Reuters has not verified the videos' authenticity.

Passenger traffic at Palma de Mallorca airport last year reached 31.1 million, an all-time record. The Mediterranean island, known for its picturesque beaches and sunny weather, is one of Europe's most visited destinations, especially popular with German and British tourists.

(Reporting by David Latona and Emma Pinedo; Editing by Mark Potter)