Thousands of Australians have put their dreams of a Bali holiday on hold with flights from capital cities cancelled after Indonesia’s Mount Agung began spewing water vapour and ash into the atmosphere.
Denpasar Airport is closed as a result of the volcanic activity.
Virgin Australia has advised passengers the airport is due to reopen at 7pm local time (9pm AEST) on Friday.
Six flights to and from Denpasar, affecting Brisbane and Sydney travellers, are being reviewed and could depart later than expected. An update on the flights is due at 2.30pm AEST.
Four of the airline’s Friday flights, including two services delayed from Thursday night, have been cancelled.
Jetstar scrapped flights to the tourist hotspot from Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane on Friday morning, while its flights leaving Bali – bound for the three capital cities and Cairns – were also cancelled.
Qantas released a statement on Friday saying it was “currently not safe to operate flights to and from Denpasar Airport” after Mount Agung began shooting ash over 2000 metres into the air on Thursday.
“We are monitoring the advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and our team of senior pilots and meteorologists will make an assessment when flights can be resumed,” it reads.
“While these disruptions are frustrating, we always put safety first.”
All three carriers said passengers will receive an SMS or email if their Bali flight is affected however Australians are urged to check airline website for flight status updates.
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said more than 8300 passengers worldwide had been affected.
The regional volcanic ash advisory centre in Darwin said winds could carry the ash southwest toward Bali’s international airport and Java – Indonesia’s most densely-populated island.
Mount Agung is about 70 kilometres northeast of Bali tourist hotspot Kuta.
Its last major eruption was in 1963 and killed about 1200 people.
Activity at the volcano was high in 2017 and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific “ring of fire” and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Local government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.