Airport shut, 443 flights affected as ash from volcano Mount Agung sweeps Bali
The Bali airport will be closed at least until 7 am local time on Wednesday
Indonesia kept the airport in Bali closed on Tuesday as ash from an erupting volcano swept the holiday island, leaving thousands of tourists stranded, and authorities tried to persuade villagers living near the crater to leave their homes. A total of 443 flights, both domestic and international, were affected by the closure of the airport, about 60 km (37 miles) from Mount Agung, which is spewing smoke and ash high into the sky.
Mount Agung seen erupting at night from Kubu sub-district in Karangasem Regency. Pics/AFP
"Aircraft flight channels are covered with volcanic ash," the transport ministry said in a statement, citing aviation navigation authorities. The airport will be closed at least until 7 am local time on Wednesday, the ministry said. Frustration at the airport was starting to boil over, with an estimated 2,000 people attempting to get refunds and reschedule tickets.
Passengers gather at the Ngurah Rai International airport in Bali
Ten alternative airports had been prepared for airlines to divert inbound flights, the operator said, adding it was helping people make alternative bookings and helping travellers. The airport on Lombok island, to the east of Bali, had reopened, authorities said, as wind blew ash westward.
443 Total no. of domestic and international flights affected
2k Estimated no. of people getting refunds and rescheduled tickets
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