Bali volcano eruption shuts airport; passengers stranded, villagers flee

Passengers in Perth arrive at the airport to find their flights are cancelled

The budget airline said in a statement that the Ngurah Rai International Airport was closed today, from 3 am to 7 pm (same time as in Malaysia).

It's happening again! All flights to and from Bali, the famous Indonesian resort island will be cancelled after the Mount Agung volcano became active again.

"Safety remains the main reason for the decision to close the airport", disaster management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

Ash is risky for planes because it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines.

The early morning closure sparked the cancellation of more than 300 flights to and from the tropical paradise with almost 27,000 passengers affected, according to the airport.

Airlines are now scrambling to clear the backlog of thousands of passengers disrupted by the eruption of Mount Agung on Bali.

It had a dramatic increase in activity last year, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but had quietened by early this year. The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.

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Two other airports in East Java were also ordered closed on Friday, according to DPA news agency. "So we've had two cancelled flights", Bird told AFP.

Volcanic activity had only subsided by February 2018, and the Bali Tourism office announced that the volcano alert had been downgraded to a Level III.

When did Mount Agung last erupt?

Despite the eruption the volcano's status has not been raised by Indonesia's volcanology agency and remained at alert level, while the Volcano Observatory Notice For Aviation has issued an orange level warning.

Most travel insurance policies for Bali have excluded any volcano-related incidents since it began erupting past year, as it is considered a known risk.

A danger zone has been set in a 4km area surrounding the volcano's crater and some 300 local residents from around the mountain were evacuated voluntarily.

The 3031-metre high volcano's last deadly eruptions occurred in 1963 and 1964, during which about 1200 people were killed.

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