Indonesia’s Mount Rinjani volcano has forced the closure of Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport and resulted in hundreds of flights being cancelled.
The ash cloud from the volcano, located on Lombok Island east of Bali, has left thousands of passengers stranded and waiting for the ash cloud to clear and authorities to declare the airspace safe to resume flights.
The airport will remain closed until at least 0845 local time (1245 AEST) on Friday, when a further assessment will be made.
“Due to the closure, all flights both arriving and departing from I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport will be cancelled until further notice,” Bali Airport said in a statement.
Virgin Australia has cancelled all flights to and from Bali that were scheduled depart on Thursday and Friday.
“An update on flights departing on Saturday 7 November will be provided tomorrow when we have more information from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre,” Virgin said in a statement.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely. The safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority and we will keep customers updated as new information becomes available.”
Virgin is offering those affected by the volcanic eruption the opportunity to change their flights to an alternative destination in Australia, the South Pacific or Phuket without paying a change fee or receive a travel credit.
Meanwhile, Jetstar has cancelled all flights to or from Bali that were due to operate on Thursday, as well as a number of flight scheduled for Friday morning. The airline said it would reassess the remainder of Friday’s schedule on Thursday evening.
The low-cost carrier is also waiving change fees for those booked to travel to Bali between November 3-7 and wish to change their destination. Any fare difference will have to be paid. Alternatively, travellers can change the travel dates to bAli free of charge, or cancel their flights to receive a travel voucher.
“We understand these continued cancellations are frustrating, and want to get customers moving to their destination as soon as possible, but the safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority,” Jetstar said in a statement.
“As we have done previously, once we have resumed flights, we will look to schedule additional services to enable customers to travel to or from Bali.”
Flights to Bali were last disrupted in July and August, when the ash cloud from the Mount Raung volcano also resulted in days of cancelled flights.