Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Air New Zealand cancels Bali flights because of erupting volcano

Air New Zealand cancels Bali flights because of erupting volcano

Its public relations department said 26 global inbound and outbound flights had been cancelled, affecting almost 5,000 travellers.

"Due to a volcanic ash cloud caused by Mount Agung in Bali, it is now not safe to operate flights to or from Denpasar Airport", the statement said.

Duty manager at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport, Darta Pande, said on Thursday that many flights would continue to operate.

The volcano's activity slowed down for a time before the eruption threat reared its head again last November, sparking travel chaos and pounding Bali's lucrative tourism industry and its wider economy.

The holiday plans of thousands of Aussies have been thrown into chaos, with Bali's Mount Agung volcano forcing the closure of the island's worldwide airport.

Bali's main worldwide gateway will be closed until at least Friday evening, according to officials who spoke to AFP news agency.

The volcano is about 75km from Bali's tourist hub in Kuta.

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Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption.

"They told us the volcano is going off so they rebooked us for this morning and we got here at 5:00 am only to be turned away again".

Thousands were stranded at the airport or nearby hotels Friday, but it was not immediately clear how many tourists were unable to leave the island. Authorities lowered its alert status from the highest level in February.

Agung has been erupting periodically since it rumbled back to life past year.

A danger zone has been erected within a 4km radius of the volcano's crater, and some 300 residents from the area around the mountain were evacuated.

An eruption at Mount Agung, about 70km from the coastal holiday area of Kuta, forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people a year ago.

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.

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