Flights cancelled after Bali volcano erupts

JAKARTA • Dozens of flights were cancelled yesterday as a rumbling Bali volcano belched a fresh plume of smoke and ash more than a kilometre into the sky.

Malaysia-based AirAsia axed 22 flights to and from the Indonesian holiday island as Mount Agung, about 75km from the tourist hub in Kuta, erupted again.

The carrier also postponed five other Bali flights.

Ngurah Rai International Airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim told Agence France-Presse that Australian airline Jetstar also cancelled 14 flights after the eruption even though the ash test at the airport came back negative.

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

The crater has been erupting periodically since it rumbled back to life last year. The volcano's activity slowed down for a time before the eruption threat reared its head again last November, sparking travel chaos and pounding Bali's lucrative tourism industry and its wider economy.

There is a 4km no-go zone around Agung's peak. Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

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.

Meanwhile, a check yesterday evening with Changi Airport's website found that AirAsia Flight QZ508, which was scheduled to land in Singapore at 8.20pm from Denpasar airport, had been cancelled. Another flight, Jetstar's 3K246, which was to land at 10.05pm from Denpasar was also scrapped.

AirAsia's Flight QZ509, scheduled to leave Singapore at 9.05pm to Denpasar was also cancelled.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'Flights cancelled after Bali volcano erupts'. Print Edition | Subscribe