JAKARTA: Ngurah Rai airport in Bali has been closed till Thursday due to the cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Rinjani (Lombok) blocking air traffic. All flights arriving and departing are cancelled until Thursday - 692 flights have been cancelled till Wednesday morning, according to airport authorities. Two other airports in the
region, on Lombok and East Java, have also been closed. Bali's is one of the busiest airports in Indonesia.
Thousands of holiday-makers are stranded in Bali as flights have been cancelled due to volcanic ash blocking visibility. Volcanic ash when sucked into aircraft engines can melt into hard substance causing engine failure.
Mount Rinjani, on the island of Lombok, east of Bali, has been spewing ash from the Barujari Crater since 25 October after the volcano erupted. The ash was being blown towards the Denpasar’s airport since the last week.
The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre said eruptions were ongoing with ash “clearly discernible” and moving westwards.
Passengers have been told to check their travel schedules. Singapore, Virgin, Jetstar, AirAsia and other airlines have cancelled flights from and to Bali.
Volcanic ash in Mount Raung in East Java had affected air travel in July last. Volcanic ash in Indonesia is a common hindrance to holiday-makers in Bali.
Bali is an island province of Indonesia and it includes a few smaller neighbouring islands. Bali is located between Java to the west and Lombok in the east. Its capital Denpasar is in the south of the island. Bali is rated one of the top 10 tropical holiday destinations of the world. Bali is also one of Asia's top luxury destinations. Some of the world's best resorts, spas and restaurants are in Bali.
Bali is a popular tourist destination. It boasts of highly developed arts like traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music. Bali is mostly Hindu inhabited.