Thousands stranded as Bali's Mt Agung eruption shuts airport

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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.

"Volcanic ash around the island of Bali following the eruption of Mt Agung means it is now not safe to operate flights to and from Denpasar Airport", a Qantas statement said.

Air New Zealand has cancelled Bali flights today due to an erupting volcano at Mount Agung.

Brent Thomas, House of Travel commercial director says, "Following the most recent ash cloud emitted from Mt Agung in Bali we are monitoring this situation very closely".

Despite the eruption the volcano's status has not been raised by Indonesia's volcanology agency and remained at alert level, while the Volcano Observatory Notice For Aviation has issued an orange level warning.

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

An eruption at Mount Agung, about 70km from the coastal holiday area of Kuta, forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people previous year.

Passengers are advised to check with their airline's website for updates.

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

Volcanic activity had only subsided by February 2018, and the Bali Tourism office announced that the volcano alert had been downgraded to a Level III.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. "We hoped that we could leave this morning, but the airport is closed", she said.

Duty manager at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport, Darta Pande, said on Thursday that many flights would continue to operate. "My stuff has been sitting on the ground for 24 hours, and don't have any accommodation", Australian traveller Caitlin Bigg said at the worldwide terminal.

The volcano is about 75km from Bali's tourist hub in Kuta.

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