Published On: Sat, Jul 11th, 2015

Flights Resume In Bali As Volcano Ash from Mount Raung Clears

Mount Ruang

Mount Ruang in Bali.

Planes have resumed flying in and out of Bali this afternoon (Indonesian local time) after wind conditions changed, blowing Mount Raung’s volcanic ash plume clear of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Some stranded passengers from Bali, a favourite holiday spot in Indonesia, will be cleared as the same wind condition is expected to continue for another three days according to the met forecast.

The alert status of Mount Ruang was placed at its second highest level after the 3300 metre volcano threw lava and smoke high in the air, late last month, endangering air taffic in the region.

“Jetstar has determined it is safe to operate daylight services today. As a result, we will operate the scheduled return service between Perth and Bali this afternoon,” said a spokesperson. The night-time flights will only be decided later in the afternoon.

Garuda Indonesia, Qantas, Jetstar, AirAsia and Virgin Australia will resume flights to and from Denpasar airport in Bali where at least 4000 Australians (official estimate, actual figure is expected to be higher) are stranded due to the stoppage of flights after the volcanic eruptions of Mount Ruang.

“Most of Bali is clear, there’s just a little bit in the far western parts,” said Stephanie Bond, Senior meteorologist at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Darwin, “We’re expecting conditions to remain the same for the next three days with winds coming from the north. Beyond that, it’s difficult to say, as volcanoes are unpredictable and Mount Raung is continuing to erupt.” The plumes have moved south of Ruang at present.

The volcanic ash has resulted in the closure of nearby terminals including Denpasar and Lombok, and cancelled flights from Garuda, Qantas, AirAsia, Jetstar and Virgin. Jetstar and Virgin have said there will be additional flights between Australia and Bali as soon as conditions improve. Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre is at present providing information to all the affected airlines.

“It’s extremely regrettable that our customers’ holidays have been spoiled by these disruptions and that we can’t provide the certainty we would like to due to the unpredictability of the volcanic ash cloud surrounding this airport,” said Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO David Hall. He also hinted to Qantas joining Jetstar in providing additional services to clear stranded passengers.

“We have teams working around the clock, monitoring conditions in Bali and assisting customers as best we can in these trying circumstances,” added Mr Hall.

Many of the passengers are camping outside the airport, some left to fend for themselves in Bali as the airlines don’t provide accommodation and food in such events beyond their control. However, charges for re-bookings, cancellations and flight changes are being waived temporarily by Garuda, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and AirAsia.

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