Travellers stranded near volcano as Bali airport closure extended

Travellers stranded near volcano as Bali airport closure extended

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The airport will be closed until 7am 450 more flights have been cancelled leaving tens of thousands of travellers stranded. 

The closure of Bali airport has been extended for a further 24 hours because of the ash from the active volcano Mount Agung. 450 more flights have been cancelled and tens of thousands more travellers have been stranded.

Observers and journalists have been evacuated from the exclusion zone around Mount Agung because of strong seismic tremors that indicate the volcano is likely to increase in activity.

Ash flows are now running down the side of the volcano, as well as strong rivers of lahar. This is a dangerous mudflow carrying rocks and debris.

Indonesian authorities are now planning to open Ngurah Rai International Airport on Wednesday morning. However, Australian airline Jetstar has already cancelled flights on 29 November.

Arie Ahsanurrohim, the airport spokesman, said on Tuesday: “It has been decided to keep the airport closed until 7 a.m. tomorrow, as the airspace of the airport is still covered by volcanic ash”.

100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from the immediate vicinity of Mount Agung but authorities think only 29,000 people have done so. They are warning that they may begin to forcibly remove people from the area.

Despite the plans to reopen Bali airport on Wednesday, it seems to be unlikely. The ash cloud from the volcano is now at 30,000 feet and being blown towards the airport, according to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

Many travellers are now making the trip by ferry from Padang Bai on the east of the island to Lombok where the airport has reopened and is operating as normal.

Jetstar are offering passengers who had booked a trip to Bali the opportunity to change their flights to Vietnam, Fiji, Japan, Thailand or Singapore.

On Monday the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “The alert warning level issued by Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority was raised to level 4 of 4. Monitor local media reports, follow the instructions of local authorities, and stay outside the exclusion zone around the crater.

“The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.”

Customers of who may be affected by the eruption are advised to contact Customer Support via chat, email, or by phone. Due to high volumes of incoming contacts, the waiting time might be longer than usual. Thank you for understanding.

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