Bali airport reopens

  • 11/07/2015
Passengers wait in the international terminal at Ngurah Rai Airport for flights to resume (Reuters)
Passengers wait in the international terminal at Ngurah Rai Airport for flights to resume (Reuters)

Indonesian authorities have reopened the international airport on the holiday island of Bali, an official says, after it was shut because of volcano ash.

It was not immediately clear, however, when flights would resume at Ngurah Rai International Airport, where thousands of holidaymakers have been stranded since Thursday when drifting ash from Mount Raung on Java forced its closure.

Indonesia's transport ministry had ordered the closure on Friday of the airport at Bali and two other domestic terminals until at least midday Saturday so that a fresh assessment of the risk posed by the volcano could be carried out.

But Bali's airport was reopened on Saturday morning after the situation was deemed "clear", ministry spokesman JA Barata said.

"The airport is open now in Bali," he said, but added that it was not clear when flights would resume.

Two domestic terminals on the island of Java closer to Mount Raung remained shut, he said.

Indonesian flag carrier Garuda earlier announced it would be cancelling 31 flights on Saturday, with AirAsia also confirming nearly a dozen flights would be cancelled or rescheduled.

The closure of Bali's airport forced the cancellation of 330 flights on Friday and chaotic scenes at the terminal as hundreds of passengers milled about anxiously.

Australian carriers Virgin Australia and Jetstar began cancelling flights earlier than other airlines, and had already axed a number of services in recent days even before Bali airport was fully closed.

The travel chaos came at a busy time in Bali, with many Australians visiting the island during the school break and millions of Indonesians setting off on holiday ahead of the Muslim celebration of Eid next week.

Authorities raised the alert status of Mount Raung, a 3300-metre volcano, late last month to the second-highest level after it began to spew lava and ash high into the air.

Two airports, including an international terminal, on the island of Lombok which closed on Friday were reopened later in the day.