Air New Zealand cancels flights as Bali's Mount Agung erupts

Mount Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.
Mount Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people. Photo credit: Reuters

Air New Zealand has cancelled flights to Bali after a volcano erupted on the Indonesian island. 

The airline cancelled flight NZ245 from Auckland to Bali that was scheduled to depart on Friday, and also cancelled the return flight NZ246 from Denpasar, the capital city and main hub of Bali. 

The eruption of Mount Agung in eastern Bali on Thursday has caused at least 48 flight cancellations including those operated by Malaysian airline AirAsia and Australia's JetStar. 

According to Flight Centre, the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar remains open, but Australian news reports said the airport was closed from 3am to at least 7am local time Friday morning after a pilot detected volcanic ash as high as 23,000 feet. 

Aircraft avoid ash because it can make runways slippery and be sucked into engines. It can also damage propellers and turbo compressor blades, and scratch cockpit windows. 

Despite the eruption, the volcano's status has not been raised by Indonesia's volcanology agency and remains at alert level. The volcano rumbled back to life in November last year and has been monitored ever since. 

Mount Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Newshub.