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Bali flights cancelled as Mt Agung erupts

THE Bali holiday plans of Australians tourists have been thrown into doubt by fresh rumblings of the island’s Mt Agung volcano. Flights to Bali from Perth and back were tonight cancelled as a result of a fresh ash cloud from Mt Agung, which reached 2000 metres in the air.

Air Asia is in the process of cancelling a series of local and regional flights however the Bali international airport remains open. A Jetstar flight, scheduled to leave Denpasar at 6.30pm (8.30pm AEST) was cancelled and so too was a flight from Perth scheduled to arrive in Bali at 5.30pm.

Jetstar and AirAsia cancelled multiple flights to and from Denpasar on Thursday. On Friday, Jetstar has cancelled JQ91 from Denpasar to Cairns and JQ117 from Singapore to Perth via Denpasar. Air Asia is also expected to cancel flights on Friday. Those travelling to Bali should check with their airline for the most up-to-date information.

So far there is no plan to close Bali’s airport but aviation authorities say they are monitoring the wind and ash cloud locations. Back in late November last year the Bali international airport was closed for several days following dust clouds carried by winds from the eruptions from Mount Agung.

The closure of the airport affected around 500 domestic and international flights and saw at least 60,000 passengers stranded.

Thick clouds of white steam was seen flowing from the volcano and as evening fell tonite, the emissions were glowing red. The volcano’s alert level remains at number three, which is moderate and the exclusion zone around the volcano is 4km. Tourists have been urged to stay away and locals have been told to prepare their face masks in the case of a full-scale eruption. Authorities said there had been tremors throughout the afternoon.

Devy Kamil Syahbana, an official of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Agency, said that white smoke had been spewing from Mt Agung’s crater since this morning and thin ash later in the day. There had been continuous tremors all afternoon. Indications are that pressure is building inside the volcano.

Mt Agung has been rumbling since last year when it was feared, in September, that a full eruption was imminent and local residents were evacuated from the slopes and housed in evacuation centres. On numerous occasions the airport was closed.

So far there is no plan to close Bali’s airport but aviation authorities say that they are monitoring the wind and ash cloud locations.

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