Published: Fri, June 29, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

Air New Zealand cancels Bali flights because of erupting volcano

Air New Zealand cancels Bali flights because of erupting volcano

Indonesian authorities shut Bali's worldwide airport for a second time in seven months as a fresh eruption Thursday at Mount Agung near the popular tourist island sent volcanic ashes several miles high into the sky.

"Safety remains the main reason for the decision to close the airport", disaster management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement. It said almost 450 flights were cancelled, affecting 75,000 people.

Passengers with Garuda Indonesia tickets have the option to reschedule their flight or get a refund, Nengki said, adding that Garuda Indonesia would closely monitor the situation, particularly the spread of volcanic ash.

The major reason for cancelling the flights during a volcanic eruption is that it can damage engines, clog fuel and can even hamper visibility.

The worldwide airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali reopened Friday afternoon after a almost 12-hour closure due to a volcanic ash threat that disrupted travel plans for thousands.

The eruption, which began on Thursday, fired a towering column of ash 2,500 metres (8,200ft) into the sky, and reddish flames lit up the volcano's crater overnight.

Mount Aging, an active volcano in northeastern Bali, has been puffing since late previous year.

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Activity at the volcano was high last year and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but it had been quieter this year.

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.

Mount Agung volcano erupts during the night, as seen from Datah village, Karangasem Regency in Bali, Indonesia on June 29, 2018.

The volcano is about 75 kilometres from Bali's tourist hub in Kuta.

Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and AirAsia cancelled flights earlier today. "So we've had two cancelled flights", Bird told AFP.

Indonesia is the world's most active volcanic region and lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

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