Jetstar and Virgin Australia have cancelled all flights to and from Bali on Monday after both carriers decided conditions were unsafe for flying due to the ash cloud from the nearby Mount Rinjani volcano.
Virgin said on Monday the latest advice from its team of meteorologists, senior pilots and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) showed conditions in the vicinity of Bali/Denpasar Airport were tipped to remain unfavourable for flying on Monday.
“Mt Rinjani continues to erupt and the ash cloud is not showing signs of retracting away from Denpasar Airport for at least the next day or so,” Virgin said in a statement.
“Therefore Virgin Australia has cancelled all services to and from Bali today, and all services departing Australia for Bali tomorrow.
“The rest of tomorrow’s scheduled flights remain under review, pending an assessment of flying conditions later today.”
Authorities closed Bali Airport to all traffic at 2145 local time Sunday (0145 AEST Monday), before reopening the facility at 0645 (1045 AEST) Monday.
The airport had been open most of the weekend, with some airlines able to operate services to the popular Indonesian tourist destination.
Virgin managed to operate one flight, VA60 from Bali to Perth, on Sunday afternoon before the airport was closed.
Also Jetstar was able to have two flights depart Bali for Australia on Sunday, while two aircraft bound for Bali had to be diverted after forecast conditions deteriorated enroute to Indonesia.
Jetstar said it cancelled all flights to and from Bali after the assessment from its pilots and operational team, and the forecast from the VAAC, determined that flying conditions around Bail remained unsafe.
“As we’ve seen during this week, the Mount Rinjani ash cloud’s movement is highly unpredictable,” Jetstar said.
“We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and further cancellations may occur if conditions prevent safe operations.
“As a Qantas Group airline, Jetstar operates according to a set of strict safety standards. We have always had a safety before schedule approach and will resume scheduled services when our senior pilots and meteorologists deem it safe to do so. What other airlines do is a matter for them. We take a conservative approach.”
In response to the ash cloud, both Virgin Australia and Jetstar are allowing passengers booked to travel to Bali the option of changing their travel destination for free – with no change fee or fare difference to pay.
Jetstar is offering this option to passengers to change their flights to Fiji, Thailand, Hawaii, selected destinations in New Zealand or across the low-cost carrier’s Australian domestic network.
Meanwhile, Virgin said passengers could change their travel plans to one of 12 destinations – Port Vila, Nadi, Apia, Phuket, Cairns, Darwin, Hamilton Island, Broome, Whitsunday Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast.