28 November 2017

Bali airport closed as volcano erupt

Bali’s international airport has been closed as the island’s highest volcano, Mount Agung, erupted for the second time in a week. The eruption has shrouded the area in a dark ash cloud, causing airlines to cancel flights and stranding thousands of passengers in the airport.

Indonesia raised its warning level to the maximum on Monday as the evacuation zone around the volcano was widened. The main tourist stretch of Kuta and Seminyak is about 70 kilometres from Mount Agung, and tourists are advised to check with the airport whether their flight has been cancelled before heading to the airport.

A statement by Asata quoted John Ridler, pr and communications manager Thompsons Holidays, saying that certain airlines had waived cancellation charges for travel or were permitting re-routing due to the eruption.

Ridler said: “Cathay Pacific will waive charges on cancellations and refunds for travel between November 27 and December 4. Re-bookings and rerouting charges will be waived on certain conditions. For Singapore Airlines, all tickets issued before November 27 for travel up to December 4 will be valid for rerouting, but the difference in taxes will need to be paid. Full refunds or rebooking are permitted until January 31.”

Nicky Potgieter, Flight Centre leisure marketing leader, advises that passengers should not assume that their flight has been cancelled. “You should check the status of your flight to confirm that it has indeed been cancelled by contacting the travel agent who booked your flight, or visiting the Bali Airport website or airline website.”

Customers in Bali should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities and stay well away from the volcano exclusion zone, adds Potgieter. “Contact your travel agent to assist in arranging an alternative flight and to keep you informed on the changing situation in Bali. Also check with your travel insurance provider on how you are covered.”

Otto de Vries, ceo of Asata, said: “The nature of travel is such that things sometimes go wrong at a moment’s notice. The existing exclusion zone, according to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, extends between eight and ten kilometres from the crater and ash clouds could continue to cause flight disruptions. It’s important for travellers to monitor local media reports and contact their Asata travel agent for details on how to proceed.”

The Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar is currently scheduled to remain closed until November 28. SQ announced late on Monday afternoon that Lombok airport would also be closed on November 28.