SINGAPORE – At least six airlines, including Singapore Airlines (SIA), Scoot, AirAsia and Jetstar Asia, have cancelled flights to Bali on Monday (Nov 27) amid fears of a larger eruption on the Mount Agung volcano.
Thousands of travellers had their holiday plans disrupted after the Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for Mount Agung to the highest stage, prompting the closure of Bali’s international airport. The airport closure left about 59,000 travellers stranded and affected 445 flights, including 196 international routes, according to its operator PT Angkasa Pura.
In a statement, the operator said it has prepared five alternative airports for airlines to divert their inbound flights, including ones in neighbouring provinces. The closure is in effect until Tuesday morning though officials said the situation will be reviewed every six hours. TV footage showed cold lava flows (lahar) at a number of locations on the mountainside. Lahar carrying mud and large boulders can destroy houses, bridges and roads in its path.
Flights were diverted away from the island’s airport due the presence of volcanic ash from the volcano.
Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency warned in a statement: "Continuing plumes of smoke are occasionally accompanied by explosive eruptions and the sound of weak blasts that can be heard up to 12 km (seven miles) from the peak.
Rays of fire are increasingly visible from night to the following day. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent.”
In a Facebook post on Monday morning (Nov 27), SIA announced that eight SIA flights and two SilkAir flights have been cancelled.
Customers travelling to Denpasar (Bali) between Monday and Dec 4 with air tickets issued on or before Monday may contact the nearest SIA ticket office if they would like to rebook or request a refund of their tickets, said the airline. The new travel date must begin on or before January 31, 2018.
“Due to high call volumes experienced by our call centre currently, customers who wish to refund their tickets to Denpasar (Bali) are requested to call in at a later stage to make the request, and Singapore Airlines will honour the refund,” said the airline.