The volcanic eruption of Mount Agung on Bali Island, Indonesia, has been marked as a red alert by local authorities. Hundreds of flights were cancelled over the weekend, with even more cancellations taking effect on November 27, 2017 as Bali International Airport closed, suspending all routes to the location.
Some flight cancellations took effect over the weekend of November 25-26, 2017, however, at that time most of the airline operations continued as normal as there were possible to avoid ash clouds. The local international airport is currently closed with the airlines reverting flights to other Indonesian airports and destinations in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Thailand.
Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) issued a level 4 (highest-rank) warning stating that the evacuation is taking place in 8 to 10 km radius from the center of Mount Agung due to “continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions [of the mountain]. The rays of fire are increasingly observed in the next night. This indicates that a potential for a larger eruption is imminent”.
The international airport on Bali ─ the Ngurah Rai International Airport also known as Denpasar International Airport ─ has issued a brief statement, saying that “Flight operations at Bali Denpasar Airport (DPS) are currently suspended due to Agung volcanic ash”. According to the media reports, the airport is closed for 24 hours, with the situation being reviewed every six hours.
According to Jakarta Post, as of November 27, 2017 several flights are being diverted to other parts of Indonesia (Surabaya and Jakarta), with at least one flight redirected further down southeast Asia to Singapore, due to the eruption.
Due to the Mt. Agung eruption, Malaysia Airlines has suspended all flights between Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar-Bali on 27 and 28 November 2017, Garuda Indonesia cancelled all its flights to Bali and Lombok (Indonesian island east of Bali), AirAsia and AirAsia X flights in and out of Bali have been cancelled, with the flights from and to Lombok remaining cancelled on November 27, 2017.
Garuda Indonesia, China Eastern, Lion Air, Malaysia Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and AirAsia are just some of the airlines whose operations are being affected by the situation. As Bloomberg points out, the big concern remains on how long will the eruption last, as year-end peak season is approaching, meaning that prolonged situation might increase the losses.