Bali flights suspended again as airport closes
The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali was closed on Sunday (July 12), just a day after resuming its services.
Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Garuda Indonesia airlines said on social media that they had suspended its flights in and out of Denpasar.
Thousands of holidaymakers have been stranded there since Thursday (July 9), when drifting ash from Mount Raung on Java forced the airport's closure.
The airport was initially reopened on Saturday (July 11) after the situation was deemed "clear", Indonesian transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told AFP.
Virgin operated six flights, while Jetstar operated seven flights, before conditions deteriorated and flights were cancelled once again, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
Virgin said in a statement on Sunday: "The latest advice from our team of meteorologists and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre is that conditions are no longer suitable for operations into and out of Denpasar Airport today.
"We have been advised that Mount Raung continues to erupt and winds are now blowing in an unfavourable direction, and are forecast to continue to do so for the rest of the day."
The travel chaos has come 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.
The closure of Bali’s airport saw 330 flights cancelled on Friday (July 10) and chaotic scenes at the terminal as hundreds of passengers milled about anxiously.
An Air New Zealand flight to Bali had to turn back after it was delayed for almost 12 hours, the NZCity website reported.
Airport officials did not immediately know how many flights were affected by the new shutdown.
At least eight flights between Singapore and Bali were cancelled or delayed on Sunday morning, a spokesman from the Changi Airport Group told The Straits Times.
Indonesian government vulcanologist Gede Suantika said that Mount Raung continued to erupt on Sunday, spewing ash up to 1,000m into the air.
"Our observation this morning showed that the winds had pushed the ash in a southeasterly direction towards Bali again," he added.
Australia’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre said winds were expected to blow the ash cloud away from the airport overnight or on Monday.