Thousands stranded as Bali's Mt Agung eruption shuts airport

30 June, 2018, 18:32 | Author: Donnie King
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More than 20 flights across Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin and Air Asia were disrupted between Thursday night and Friday morning due to the ash cloud moving toward Denpasar Airport.

The budget airline said in a statement that the Ngurah Rai International Airport was closed today, from 3am to 7pm.

The early morning closure of Ngurah Rai airport sparked the cancellation of almost 280 flights to and from the tropical paradise with some 15,700 passengers affected, according to revised figures from an airport spokesman.

Ash is unsafe for planes because it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines.

The airports, which were shut from 3 a.m. local time will remain closed at least until 9 p.m., PT Angkasa Pura, the state-run airport operator said in a statement.

Mt Agung caused widespread disruptions towards the end of 2017, throwing the travel plans of thousands of holidaymakers into chaos. Another flight, Jetstar's 3K246, which was to land at 10.05pm from Denpasar was also scrapped.




An earlier flight on AirAsia was called off before the airport was shuttered early Friday morning.

On November 27, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority confirmed the threat level had been raised from Level Three to its highest possible number, Level Four.

Mount Agung rumbled back to life a year ago and has been erupting periodically since.

There is a 4km no-go zone around Agung's peak. Last year, a series of eruptions from September to December prompted evacuations and flight disruptions, but no loss of life was reported.

The 3031-metre high volcano's last deadly eruptions occurred in 1963 and 1964, during which about 1200 people were killed.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position in the highly active ring of fire - a belt of tectonic plate boundaries in the Pacific Ocean which is vulnerable to frequent seismic activity.

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