Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts

Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts

The regional volcanic ash advisory centre in Darwin said winds could carry the ash southwest toward Bali's worldwide airport and Java, Indonesia's most densely populated island.

Ngurah Rai global airport says all flights are suspended until at least 7pm local time (9pm AEST).

The airport reopened at 2:30 p.m. and all contingency plans to resume flights have been prepared and implemented according to procedure.

Apparently, the volcano erupted and sent an ash column of 2,500 metres into the air and reddish flames were spotted in the crater, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

However, it said, several flights remained as scheduled until further notice.

Most travel insurance policies for Bali have excluded any volcano-related incidents since it began erupting a year ago, as it is considered a known risk.

The airport will stay shut on Friday until 7 pm local time (1100 GMT), and 48 flights had been cancelled affecting 8,334 passengers, including 38 worldwide flights and 10 domestic flights, the disaster mitigation agency said in a statement.

Thousands were stranded at the airport or nearby hotels Friday, but it was not immediately clear how many tourists were unable to leave the island.

A number of flights between Australia and Bali have also been cancelled after the Mount Agung volcano began spewing water vapour and ash two kilometres into the air.

However, Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said Agung's danger status had not changed and flights were not in danger.

Denpasar Airport is closed as a result of the volcanic activity.

At Bali's global 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.

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.

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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