Ash from Bali's Mount Agung closes airports, grounds flights

Several flights to Bali cancelled after volcano spews smoke and ash

Several flights to Bali cancelled after volcano spews smoke and ash

Indonesia closed the main airport on the resort island of Bali as volcanic eruptions sent ash shooting more than 8,000 feet into the sky, the latest closure over the past year at the country's second-busiest airport.

The early morning closure of Ngurah Rai airport resulted in the cancellation of 446 flights, including more than 200 global arrivals and departures, with as many as 15,700 passengers affected, according to news reports.

Mount Agung is about 70km northeast of Bali's tourist hotspot of Kuta.

Ash from the eruption forced the closure of the global airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

According to a report, the smoke began gushing out of the Mount Agung volcano on June 28, 2018.

The major reason for cancelling the flights during a volcanic eruption is that it can damage engines, clog fuel and can even hamper visibility.

The budget airline said in a statement that the Ngurah Rai International Airport was closed today, from 3am to 7pm.

Earlier, authorities were forced to cancel 115 global flights and 203 domestic ones, affecting almost 27,000 travellers.

Australia's national airline Qantas said it was monitoring advice from the regional Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Darwin, Australia, and its own pilots and meteorologists would decide when flights can resume.

Activity at the volcano was high in 2017 and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

The agent said it was important customers did not assume all flights would be cancelled.

Mount Agung rumbled back to life a year ago and has been erupting periodically since.

Indonesia is the world's most active volcanic region and lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities. Those missed flights have been re-booked to leave tomorrow morning.

The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.

Bali's governor said officials were working on getting visitors on their way.

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