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Published On: Mon, Nov 27th, 2017

Red alert at Mount Agung, hundreds of flights cancelled

nsnbc : Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG), on Sunday raised the warning and flight status to the highest “Red”, following the second Mount Agung eruption, Saturday.

Mount Agung_Indonesia_Nov 2017Mount Agung has earlier spewed a 6,142 meters column of the volcanic ashes from the crater, the PPVMBG`s Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation (VONA) reported on Nov 25. “If the volcanic ash column has reached 6,000 m above the sea surface, the aviation status would turn to highest warning level red,” the PVMBG head, Kasbani said in Karangasem district, Bali province, Sunday.

Before the volcano`s second eruption, the flight warning system remained in the second-highest “orange” level. Although a large amount of ashes has been released, VONA reported, the volcanic material is moving not to the airport, but to the north and southeast of Mount Agung. Despite of the “red” status, PVMBG has no authority to ban or cancel any flights en route to and from Bali. The warning status, Kasbani said, would serve as an information for the pilots to avoid the airways nearby the volcano.

Some a local and 22 foreign airlines have canceled their flights en route to and from Bali. Since the volcano had its second eruption on Thursday (Nov 25), at least 26 airlines had canceled its departure and arrival schedules to Bali. Most routes canceled were provided by several foreign airlines, including Jetstar, Virgin Airlines, KLM, Air Asia Malaysia, Qantas Airways, Cathay Airlines, Malindo Air, and Hong Kong Airlines.

On Monday a temporary shutdown at Bali`s I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport led to 445 flight cancellations as a precautionary measure against likely flight disturbances due to volcanic ash arising from Mount Agung`s eruption in Denpasar. “Due to a temporary shutdown of the I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, as many as 445 flights to and from Bali were affected,” Secretary of PT Angkasa Pura I Israwadi stated in a press release received in Jakarta on Monday.

He said currently, flights from Bali were canceled, while those to Bali scheduled before 7:15 a.m. local time were diverted to some airports around Bali. “We estimate that 445 flights will be canceled, covering 196 international routes and 249 domestic routes,” he stated.

To ensure smooth handling of future flights to Bali, Israwadi said his side has prepared five alternative airports: the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java Province; Lombok Praya International Airport in West Nusa Tenggara Province; Sultan Hasanussin Airport in South Sulawesi Province; Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan International Airport in East Kalimantan Province; Adi Soemarmo International Airport in Central Java Province; Ahmad Yani International Airport in Central Java Province; and Adi Sutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta Province.

Israwadi also said his side has readied buses for passengers to serve as an alternative means of transportation to the Mengwi Bus Terminal and Padang Bai Port. Israwadi’s side has also readied information service centers for offering ticket refund and flight rescheduling services and to also serve as outlets for the consulate general to serve foreign tourists.  Moreover, his side will offer entertainment in the form of music and traditional dance performances as well as additional services to provide snacks and beverages.

For further information on the updated condition of the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Province, the people can call the hotline: (0361) 9351011, extension 5055, and the Integrated Command Post, with extension 6300. Moreover, for connecting to the hotline of the Lombok Praya Airport, the people can contact the integrated command post at (0370) 6157000, extension 888, or the call center of PT Angkasa Pura I at 172.

The I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport was shut down on Monday from 7:15 a.m. local time until Tuesday due to volcanic ash being spewed by Mount Agung. Meanwhile, the Lombok Praya Airport was reopened on Monday at 6 a.m. local time after it was shut down since Saturday, Nov 26, at 5:55 p.m. local time due to volcanic ash arising from the mount`s eruption.  The 3,142-meter-high Mount Agung has been rumbling since August 2017.

F/AK – nsnbc 27.11.2017

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