Kiwis stranded as volcano forces closure of Bali airport

Publish Date
Monday, 27 November 2017, 12:57PM

Indonesian authorities raised the alert for a rumbling volcano to the highest level on Monday and closed the international airport on the tourist island of Bali, stranding thousands of travelers.

All flights to and from Bail have been cancelled as Mt Agung continues to spill ash and smoke, leaving hundreds of New Zealanders in the lurch.

Denpasar Airport closed on Monday after the eruption was raised to the highest level and people within 10km of the volcano were evacuated.

Flight Centre has reported that around 1000 of its customers are either in Bali or travelling to the island.

Jetstar has advised passengers that all flights are cancelled while Air New Zealand are not currently operating services to and from Bali.

Authorities have raised the volcano alert to the highest level, and ordered people within 10km to leave.

Mount Agung has been hurling ash thousands of meters into the atmosphere since Saturday, which had already forced the small international airport on the neighboring island of Lombok to close as the plumes drifted east.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Bali's international airport, where most flights had been continuing, was closed for 24 hours. It said authorities would consider reopening it Tuesday after evaluating the situation.

Jetstar has cancelled all flights in and out of Bali due to the ash cloud around the Mount Agung volcano.

"While these disruptions are frustrating, we will always put safety before schedule," the carrier said in a statement.

Virgin Australia has also cancelled all flights in and out of Bali.

Indonesian and regional authorities had already heightened flight warnings around Mount Agung on Sunday as the volcano's eruptions sent a plume of volcanic ash and steam more than 6,000 metres into the skies above the popular holiday island.

The Monday cancellations come after dozens of flights to and from Bali were scrapped on Sunday after ash from the volcano covered roads, cars and buildings.

Jetstar will next update passengers around 7pm AEDT upon the receipt of further advice from the Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product, said if cancellations continue there will be thousands of Kiwis affected.

Flight Centre currently has around 1,000 customers in Bali at the moment or due to travel over the next couple of weeks.

"It is important customers do not assume flights will be cancelled; Kiwis due to travel should speak with their travel expert asap so that they can check the status of their flight or contact the carrier to confirm," Berenson said.

Travellers are being urged to contact Flight Centre or a travel expert as soon as possible to get the latest advice on their individual itineraries and travel insurance policies. 

"We are advising any of our customers currently in the area, or due to visit Bali, to register with Safe Travel in order to keep updated on the most recent information," Berenson said.


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