A MUM-OF-FOUR has been left stranded in Gran Canaria airport for more than 28 hours due to a Saharan sandstorm.

Spanish airport operator Aena cancelled, suspended or diverted all flights to and from the Canary Islands at the weekend, citing low visibility due to the storm, which has brought red dust from the Sahara desert.

Thousands of Britons have been stranded because of the sandstorm, also known as a calima.

One of these passengers is Laura Maxfield, 47, from Cowley Hill, who was due to fly home to Manchester airport with her partner Rob on Saturday.

However, after spending all evening waiting for their flight, they were put up in a hotel by airline provider TUI.

St Helens Star:

Laura laying on the floor of the airport

On Sunday the same pattern unfolded and, after nine hours waiting, they were again being put into a hotel.

But on Monday, they claim they were told they would fly home that day.

But so far they have spent 28 hours in the airport, where they are among hundreds of other stranded airline passengers.

Laura, a school cook at Rainford Primary School, said: "We were supposed to fly home at 5.40pm on Saturday, but because of the sandstorm our flight, and the next one, were cancelled so they put us up in a hotel overnight, which was fine.

"The same thing happened on Sunday, but on Monday we came back again and since they put us in the airport again. We've had no communication from anyone.

"The flight boards are the only thing telling us anything. We queue, then all of a sudden the flight says delayed or cancelled and a new time comes up.

"It's atrocious what is happening, there are people here with babies and older people forced to sleep on the floor.

St Helens Star:

The crowd at the airport

"We've not been given any vouchers for food for at least 16 hours, so that's the last time we got something to eat.

"To be in an airport for 25 hours plus and not be told anything is horrible.

"I'm in tears talking to you, it's too much. My kids and my sister are so worried about me and keep texting us.

"I just want to get home. We've been cancelled so many times now I've lost count.

"We've not been able to get changed either, they have our bags. So we've been stuck like this for days.

"We've just had another cancellation as well and because we are all upset they sent the police out to talk to us.

"There are babies with nowhere to sleep, you wouldn't treat your worse enemies like this.

"They have even offered to give us £150 because they left us with nowhere to sleep last night, but it doesn't fix this.

"We just want to go home."

A spokesman from TUI, said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to our customers whose flights were disrupted by adverse and changeable weather conditions in the Canary Islands over the past few days. The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we’re working tirelessly to get everyone to their destination as quickly as possible.

"We’ve done everything we can to avoid any further delays, however we need to ensure our crew have taken their legal minimum rest in order to operate flights home. All flights scheduled to depart from the Canary Island today will be operating as planned.

"We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank our customers for their co-operation and patience."

The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma, are popular with European tourists in search of winter sun.