Mount Agung: Bali Airport Closed And 59,000 Passengers Affected By Cancelled Flights

The volcano alert for Mount Agung has been raised to the highest level.

Cover image via AFP/Peter Bannan

All flights in and out of Bali have been cancelled as the Ngurah Rai International Airport in the tourist island has been closed for 24 hours, starting 7am today, 27 November

Stranded travellers at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali

Image via News Corp Australia

Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho issued the statement via a tweet this morning. 

"The alert status for Mount Agung has been raised from level three to level four from 6am Monday (27 November)," said Sutopo in a separate tweet. 

The Indonesian authorities have raised the alert on Mount Agung volcano to the highest level, widening the exclusion zone around the volcano to 10km. 

The Guardian reports that around 25,000 people living in the area have been evacuated since Mount Agung first began belching thick smoke last Tuesday, 21 November. 

The alert level was raised after the volcano shifted from steam-based eruptions to magmatic eruptions, sending ash about 4,000 metres into the atmosphere

Mount Agung volcano spewing smoke and ash in Bali on Sunday, 26 November.

Image via Reuters/The Guardian

"Continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions accompanied by a weak sound of boom. 

"The rays of fire are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent," the national disaster agency said in a statement on its Facebook page today. 

However, Geological agency head, Kasbani, said that they are not expecting a big eruption but will continue to take the necessary safety measures and stay alert. 

Reports suggest that more than 400 flights and 59,000 passengers are affected by the airport's closure

"We got reports from pilots that volcanic ash has reached the area above the airport. We did an observation and found out that this is true. So, we decided to close the airport operation. 

"Although the closure is planned for 18 hours, we will evaluate every six hours," explained the head of the airport authority for Bali and East Nusa Tengarra area, Henson, as reported by The Daily Telegraph

Bali's major resort areas in Kuta and Seminyak are about 70 kilometres from the volcano. 

Most airlines have confirmed that all flights to and from Bali are cancelled for today.

AirAsia issued a statement yesterday, 26 November, saying that it has cancelled 32 flights and rescheduled two others to and from Bali and Lombok due to the volcanic activity at Mount Agung in Bali.

AirAsia said in their statement that affected guests would be notified of the flight status and the options available for flight changes via their registered email address.

AirAsia is offering two options, namely: 

1. Move flight - Change to a new travel time on the same route within 30 calendar days from original flight time without additional cost and subject to seat availability; OR

2. Credit account - Retain the value of your fare in a credit account for your future travel. The online credit account must be redeemed within 90 calendar days from the date of issuance.

The low-cost airline updated its statement this morning, stressing that all AirAsia and AirAsia X flights in and out of Bali and Lombok remain cancelled

The low-cost airline advised affected guests to keep themselves updated on the latest information regarding the Bali and Lombok flights cancellation by checking AirAsia's official website and its social media pages. 

"We also encourage guests to check their flight status through, 'Manage My Booking' feature on AirAsia's website," read the statement on Twitter

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