Bali volcano: Highest-level aviation warning, flights cancelled amid Mt Agung eruption

Bali volcano: Highest-level aviation warning, flights cancelled amid Mt Agung eruption

VP Corporate of PT Garuda Indonesia Hengki Heriandono said Garuda Indonesia will continue to monitor the situation and developments related to the activities of Mount Agung, especially the activity of the spread of volcanic ash that can disrupt flight safety.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said ash clouds were moving away from the global airport, which remained open, The Guardian reported.

"Once the airports find volcanic ash trace, we'll close down the airport for flights", said Herson, chief of Bali's Ngurah Rai airport. However it warned that the movement of ash cloud is highly unpredictable and flights could still be cancelled at short notice.

Several airlines have cancelled flights around Bali, with nearly 5,000 passengers having to find an alternate route, ABC News reported. Virgin, KLM and Air Asia Malaysia also cancelled several flights Saturday.

There have been no new evacuations in Bali and a six kilometre exclusion zone around the volcano has not been extended.

Close												Passengers wait for flight information at Ngurah Rai Airport following the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali Indonesia on Nov. 25
Close Passengers wait for flight information at Ngurah Rai Airport following the eruption of Mount Agung in Bali Indonesia on Nov. 25

Magma - molten rock - has now been detected close to the volcano's surface, said officials and volcanologists.

"All flights are back to normal", said Herson, head of the local airport authority, who uses one name.

Bali is a popular tourist destination for many in the region, with thousands traveling to the island for end of year celebrations. These pyroclastic flows travelled east and south at over 60 km/hr, wiping out several villages and causing the death of over 1000 people.

The Mt. Agung volcano, which towers over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the island's main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak. The last time Mount Agung erupted, in 1963, more than 1000 people died.

Many of Indonesia's 130 volcanoes show high levels of activity. The alert was lowered on October 29 after a decrease in activity.

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