The Puebla international airport in central Mexico resumed operations after being closed down for several hours due to the ashes falling from Popocatepetl volcano, Airports and Auxiliary Services officials said.

Early Friday morning the decision was taken to close the airport's runways because of the abundance of volcanic ash in its operational areas.

The work of cleaning and picking up the ash began at noon, and later on Friday operations resumed.

A total of eight flights were canceled - six passenger flights to the cities of Houston, Dallas, Monterrey, Cancun, Tijuana and Guadalajara, and two cargo flights.

The National Disaster Prevention Center, or Cenapred, reported in its 6:00 p.m. Friday bulletin that Popocatepetl in the previous seven hours had 21 exhalations accompanied by steam and gas emissions and occasional light bursts of ash.

Last Saturday authorities raised the volcano alert to Stage 3 Yellow after an increase in volcanic activity that caused a shower of ash on Mexico City, and it remains at that stage.

Popocatepetl, Mexico's second-highest peak at 5,452 meters (17,875 feet), is one of 14 active volcanoes in the Aztec nation. EFE