SINGAPORE: An ash cloud from an eruption on Lombok’s Mount Rinjani has led to flight cancellations in and out Bali airport on Tuesday (Nov 3).
Authorities decided to close Ngurah Rai International Airport for four hours until 11.30pm (1530 GMT) so they could assess the risk posed by a large ash cloud drifting from Mount Rinjani, an active volcano on the nearby island of Lombok.
Airport manager Trikora Harjo said the situation would be re-evaluated as the evening went on but unless conditions improved the airport could remain shut.
“If there’s any chance available (to reopen the airport) I will, but if not, I will continue to keep it closed,” he told AFP, adding he did not yet know how many flights would be affected.
In a statement, Jetstar said it had cancelled all remaining flights “to and from Bali following assessment of the latest information from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)”, with Singapore, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne among the affected destinations.
Virgin Australia “has cancelled all flights to and from” Bali, reported Sky News Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald said that both airlines announced that volcanic ash “made flying conditions unsafe”.
“The safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority,” Virgin Australia said in a statement.
The latest disruption comes three months after a major eruption at Mount Raung in Java led to widespread travel chaos at Bali airport, leaving passengers stranded for days.