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Bali shuts airport after volcanic eruption
29 June 2018, 02:56 | Vera Richards
Ash from a volcanic eruption forced the closure of the worldwide airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday, as Mount Agung volcano became active again after a lull since late a year ago.
The airport on Indonesia's holiday island of Bali reopened on Friday after ash from a volcano forced a brief closure and the cancellation of more than 300 flights.
Airlines are now scrambling to clear the backlog of thousands of passengers disrupted by the eruption of Mount Agung on Bali.
A striking orange-red glow could be seen at the top of Mount Agung's crater after it shot smoke and ash some 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) into the sky Thursday evening.
Mount Agung spews volcanic ash into the air. Volcanic ash can damage aircraft engines, clog fuel and cooling systems, and affect visibility.
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"Safety remains the main reason for the decision to close the airport", disaster management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.
Its public relations department said 26 worldwide inbound and outbound flights had been cancelled, affecting almost 5,000 travellers.
"We are monitoring the advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and our team of senior pilots and meteorologists will make an assessment when flights can be resumed", it reads. In December, minor explosive eruptions closed the airport. The authorities have also reduced its alert status from higher to lower level in the month of February 2018.
Qantas Airways Ltd., Singapore Airlines Ltd., AirAsia Bhd. and PT Garuda Indonesia are among the airlines operating flights to Bali, which draws an estimated 5 million tourists annually.
If one looks closely, this is not the first time that Mount Agung in Northeastern Bal has erupted.
The volcano is about 75 kilometres from Bali's tourist hub in Kuta.
Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption.
Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position in the highly active ring of fire - a belt of tectonic plate boundaries in the Pacific Ocean which is vulnerable to frequent seismic activity.
The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.
"We will try our best to find a solution so all visitors can continue their trip", Made Mangku Pastika said.
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