Stranded tourists to board relief flights out of Bali as airport reopens

Light from lava inside the crater is reflected off volcanic ash from Mount Agung, as seen from Jemeluk Beach, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia November 28, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken Nov 28, 2017. Source: Reuters / AntaraFoto

TOURISTS stranded in Bali, Indonesia were allowed to take flights out of the country as authorities have reponed the international terminal on Wednesday, two days after a volcanic eruption spread ash across the island and forced the airport to close.

At the time of this writing, a spokesman for the Bali’s Ngurah Rai international airport said the airspace will be re-opened at 3pm local time, Channel News Asia reported (via the AFP).

“We are going to constantly monitor the situation on the ground,” he said.

In a statement air traffic control provider AirNav said: “Bali‘s international airport started operating normally,”  adding that operations resumed at 2:28 p.m. (0628 GMT).

Australian budget carrier Jetstar said it was running four extra flights carrying 1,000 stranded passengers Bali as large plume of white and grey ash and smoke was visible above Mount Agung.

The airline spokesman was quoted by SBS News as saying these flights would complement 10 other scheduled flights out of the resort island.

The Jetstar spokesman said a total of 3,800 people will be able to return to Australia. Qantas said it was operating more flights out of Indonesia while Singapore Airlines said it would resume flights between Singapore and Bali on Wednesday.

Earlier, Indonesia shut the airport for a third consecutive day on Wednesday due to a volcanic ash cloud, as the rumbling Mount Agung volcano continued to paralyse flights on the holiday island and cause a mass evacuation around the mountain.

Authorities have been continually assessing the risk the ash poses to flying after winds sent the cloud southwest across the island.

As many as 443 flights, both domestic and international, have been affected by the closure of the airport, about 60km (37 miles) from Mount Agung.

Agung towers over eastern Bali to a height of just over 3,000m (9,800 feet). Its last major eruption in 1963 killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages.

Additional reporting by Reuters