Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Bali shuts airport after volcanic eruption

Passengers in Perth arrive at the airport to find their flights are cancelled Camera Icon Passengers in Perth arrive at the airport to find their flights are
Elsie Buchanan | 30 June, 2018, 02:30

Thousands of local and foreign passengers were stranded on Friday as Bali shuttered its worldwide airport after the Indonesian resort island's Mount Agung volcano shot a thick plume of ash and smoke thousands of metres into the sky, officials said.

The airport had been closed since 3 a.m. local time on Friday. "The airport will operate for 24 hours straight to get flights back on schedule", an unidentified official said.

Several flights were cancelled or rescheduled on Thursday.

"Denpasar Airport is now closed and we are monitoring the advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center and our team of senior pilots and meteorologists will make an assessment when flights can be resumed", said the statement.

"Due to a volcanic ash cloud caused by Mount Agung in Bali, it is now not safe to operate flights to or from Denpasar Airport", the statement said.

It added that winds could carry the ash southwest toward Bali's worldwide airport and Java, Indonesia's most densely populated island.

"We are continuing to monitor conditions in Bali following volcanic eruptions at Mount Agung", Jetstar said in a statement.

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The volcano, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Bali's tourist hotspot of Kuta, last had a major eruption in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the disaster mitigation agency said activity was going on deep under the volcano. "Please do not manually re-book your flights", says Jetstar.

AirAsia cancelled the 6.30pm and 8.00pm flights between Denpasar and Perth, as well as the 7.30pm Denpasar to Perth flight amid fears the ash could affect the aircraft engines.

The volcano's alert level remains high and tourists have been warned to stay away from the area.

At Bali's worldwide airport, hundreds of passengers were queuing in the lobby of the terminal to get updates from airlines, while some slept on the floor next to their baggage.

The report further suggests that the sudden increase in the lava eruption has forced millions of people to evacuate the nearby regions of the volcanoes.

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