Bali ash cloud threat

June 01, 2016

A brief and powerful eruption of the Mount Rinjani on Lombok, Indonesia at noon local time yesterday has thrown doubt over flights to and from Bali.

A return Tigerair Australia flight from Perth to Denpasar was cancelled and Australia's Jetstar has cancelled numerous flights today (Tuesday Aug 2).

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre the eruption was brief and sent ash 10,000m into the air.

The ash has mainly drifted in a southerly direction, although a small amount has moved to the west and was due to impact Denpasar last night. VAAC says it is unsure about the impact on flights and recommends passengers check with their airlines.

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest volcano, last erupted in late October 2015 and caused travel chaos.

Virgin Australia’s Bali operations were taken over by its subsidiary Tigerair earlier this year, although the flights are still operated by Virgin.

Tigerair said that the latest advice from its team of meteorologists and the VAAC is that conditions are not suitable for operations into and out of Denpasar Airport. Tigerair will provide another update this morning.

Tigerair said it "sincerely apologises to affected passengers for the inconvenience however weather conditions are outside the airline's control and safety always comes before schedule."

"We continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep customers updated via SMS and email as soon as new information becomes available," a spokesperson said.

Passengers are advised to refer to the Tigerair website for information updates as our call centre is experiencing a higher than usual volume of calls.

The airline added that it is providing hotel accommodation compensation for all affected passengers away from home overnight and will re accommodate them onto other next available services.

Mount Rinjani is one of Indonesia’s most active and erupted in 2009 and that eruption lasted 18 months. Prior to that it erupted in 2004, 1995 and 1966.

Bali airport handles 300 international and domestic flights a day and 40,000 passengers.