More Than 400 Flights Cancelled As Volcano Forces Bali Shutdown

Arturo Kim
June 30, 2018

This is not the first time that the airport has been closed due to Mount Agung and this time, 48 flights had been cancelled, affecting 8,334 passengers, including 38 global flights and 10 domestic flights. Flights to Bali were suspended for almost 12 hours after ash clouds from Mount Agung volcano became too intense.

A change in wind direction pushed the ash away from Bali's global gateway, allowing flights to resume, an airport official said.

The early morning closure sparked the cancellation of more than 300 flights to and from the tropical paradise with almost 27,000 passengers affected, according to the airport.

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

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the disaster mitigation agency said activity was going on deep under the volcano.

The volcano's eruption threat reared its head again in November, sparking travel chaos and pounding Bali's lucrative tourism industry and its wider economy.

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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.

Qantas turned back two Bali-bound flights departing from Melbourne and Sydney, and delayed two more due to depart Denpasar.

It had a dramatic increase in activity last year, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but had quietened by early this year.

Mount Agung has been spewing clouds of ash up to 2,500 metres into the air since Wednesday. It has been erupting with various intensities since past year. Authorities lowered its alert status from the highest level in February. Mt. Agung is situated in Bali's northeast area, around 70 km from Kuta.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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