Bali reopens airport after volcano eruption strands thousands of tourists

Posted June 30, 2018

No other airlines have cancelled flights yet.

Airlines began flying back to the holiday island late on Friday, after a change in winds that had previously blown ash towards Bali's main airport combined with a decrease in seismic activity at Mt Agung.

Mount Agung in northeastern Bali has been rumbling to life intermittently since late a year ago and it began belching smoke and ash again on Thursday.

Jetstar has resumed flights to Bali on Friday after earlier cancellations due to Indonesia's Mount Agung volcano spewing water vapour and ash into the atmosphere. Several flights were cancelled or rescheduled on Thursday. Volcanic ash is a potentially deadly threat to aircraft that can cause engines to "flame out". "Please do not manually re-book your flights", says Jetstar.

Despite the eruption the volcano's status has not been raised by Indonesia's volcanology agency and remained at alert level, while the Volcano Observatory Notice For Aviation has issued an orange level warning.

Bali's main global gateway will be closed until at least Friday evening, according to officials, who added that two other domestic airports were also shut.

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"At Flight Centre we are closely monitoring the situation and working with our customers due to travel to the region to provide support and advice, said Sue Matson, Flight Centre's general manager, retail".

"Safety remains the main reason for the decision to close the airport", disaster management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption.

Its last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Volcanic activity had only subsided by February 2018, and the Bali Tourism office announced that the volcano alert had been downgraded to a Level III.

More than 38,000 local residents were evacuated to shelters and a 12km exclusive zone placed around the volcano, which is 70km from Kuta.