Ngurah Rai International Airport remains at the mercy of Mount Agung as at least 90,000 remain stranded
Australia’s Qantas and Jetstar airlines are sending 16 empty for over 3,000 passengers that have been stuck for days
Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines are rescuing 1,600 Hong Kong tourists stranded in Bali
Officials are concerned wind could blow ash over the airspace or Mount Agung could erupt again causing more disruption in flights
Air Asia, Wings Air, and Lion Air were the first regional airlines to resume operations at Ngurah Rai International Airport following Mount Agung’s eruption that began on Saturday.
It is reported that even if Australia’s Qantas and Jetstar resumed regular operations, passengers could wait until next week for direct flights to Australia. The massive ash cloud from Mount Agung could still cause more closures in the weeks to come.
On Wednesday afternoon, Qantas and Jetstar announced they would be sending 16 empty flights to pick up between 3,600 and 4,000 people that have been stranded for days. Jetstar, like other airlines, have stated they will not fly people to Bali due to the chance that Mount Agung may erupt again.
On Thursday, airline companies Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines are planning on rescuing 1,600 Hong Kong tourists stuck in Bali. Cathay Pacific plans on operating one flight to Denpasar airport and Hong Kong Airlines plan on adding a flight to their two planned trips.
Winds cleared ash away from Ngurah Rai, but that could only be a temporary window of opportunity. Officials are concerned that winds will blow ash back over the airspace or Mount Agung will produce a “major eruption.”
On Monday, Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) said a larger eruption is still possible. Even without a major eruption, the current level of lava, ash, sulfur, and carbon dioxide emissions could continue for weeks.
In Bali, Mount Agung erupted three times on Saturday with more eruptions following on Sunday, including a “medium-pressure” event during the evening.
Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana
On Monday night, “rays of fire” were observed in the volcano’s crater. On Tuesday, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana warned of “increasing volcanic activity.” Just 17 hours ago, the BNPB made the following post to their Facebook page.
* MAGMATIC AGRICULTURAL ERUPSI, STRAIGHT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RAI BACK CLOSED *
Mount Agung eruption continues. This magmatic eruption continues to smoke and gray ash with medium intensity with a volcanic ash column height of about 2,500 – 3,000 meters above the summit crater. The rays of fire from lava are observed at night. Smoke is leaning to the west of the data. Tremor is still continuous with amplitude 1-2 millimeter dominant 1 millimeter. Caution Status (level 4).