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Airlines resume Bali flights as volcano slows

Mount Bromo began rumbling in November and the government had raised the eruption threat warning to the maximum red alert before lowering it last month.
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 30, 2011
Flights to and from Indonesian resort island of Bali have resumed after dangerous ash spewing from an Indonesian volcano abated, an official said Sunday.

"All international flights have resumed since yesterday. The volcanic ash no longer poses a threat," the airport's air traffic operations manager Ketut Subamia told AFP.

More than 30 international flights to and from the island were cancelled or diverted after ash belched from East Java's Mount Bromo and drifted into airspace over Bali on Thursday.

Thousands of foreign tourists, mostly from Australia, were stranded, airlines said.

The airlines which cancelled flights included Australian companies Jetstar and Virgin Blue, along with Cathay Pacific, KLM, Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, Korean Air and Qatar Airways.

Mount Bromo began rumbling in November and the government had raised the eruption threat warning to the maximum red alert before lowering it last month.

Indonesia's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, has killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions which started in late October.

Unlike Merapi, the countryside around Bromo is not densely populated as it lies within the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, a huge caldera containing several volcanoes.

earlier related report
More Bali flights scrapped due to volcano
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 28, 2011 - More than 30 international flights to and from the resort island of Bali were cancelled Friday, as dangerous ash continued to belch from an Indonesian volcano, airlines said.

Thousands of foreign tourists, mostly from Australia, remain stranded on the island after a cloud of ash from Java's Mount Bromo drifted into airspace over Bali on Thursday.

The latest cancellations mean about 45 services have been scrapped since Thursday due to volcanic ash.

Australian budget airline Jetstar said on Friday it had cancelled all seven of its return services from Australia and Singapore to Bali.

"We have to take a safety-first approach," Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway told Australian radio. "The complexity is that while visibility can come and go, there is volcanic ash in the vicinity of Denpasar airport."

A spokeswoman for the company said 1,600 of its passengers had been stranded in Bali by the cancellations, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Virgin Blue, another Australian budget airline, said it had also cancelled all of its flights to and from Bali on Friday. Almost 900 of its travellers were stuck on the island, AAP said.

Other airlines that cancelled flights included Cathay Pacific, KLM, Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, Korean Air and Qatar Airways.

But a spokeswoman for Bali's Denpasar airport, Sherly Yunita, said domestic and some international airlines were continuing to arrive and depart.

"It depends on the airline's decision," she said.

Mount Bromo began rumbling in November and the government had raised the eruption threat warning to the maximum red alert before lowering it last month.

The head of Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre, Surono, said Mount Bromo was "belching ash about 1,000 metres from the crater".

"It's actually the strong wind that caused the ash to go in certain directions. If airlines prefer to be cautious then it's up to them."

The Australian government issued a travel notice advising its citizens that the disruptions "could continue in Bali and could also occur in other parts of Indonesia".




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Airlines cancel Bali flights to avoid volcano ash
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 27, 2011
Several international flights to and from the resort island of Bali were cancelled or diverted Thursday to avoid dangerous ash spewing from an Indonesian volcano, officials said. Ash from rumbling Mount Bromo, a popular attraction in East Java province, had spread to the island popular with foreign tourists and surfers. "We received information from Darwin that the ash from Bromo has rea ... read more

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