Australia

Bali travellers stranded as volcano closes airports

Denpasar Airport Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tourists look at the flight schedule information board at Denpasar International airport

Travellers to and from Australia have been left stranded or unable to go on holiday after an erupting volcano forced Indonesia to close five airports on Friday.

Jetstar and Virgin cancelled all their flights between Australia and Bali's Denpasar airport, hitting the school holiday season.

It is the second day of flight disruptions due to continued eruptions from Mount Raung. Some of those affected by the Bali closure have been speaking to the BBC about their situation:

Image copyright Other

Erika Fitzgerald, who was on holiday in Bali, said she was due to start a new job near Sydney on Monday but will not make it back in time.

"My main concern at the moment is getting back for that," she said. Instead of flying direct, she is now trying to get on a flight to Singapore on Saturday then three connecting flight back to Sydney.

"If we hadn't taken the four flight option we wouldn't have been able to get back till Sunday 19 [July]," she said.

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Media captionFootage from 10 July showed ash billowing into the sky forcing the closure of Bali airport

Janan Jedrzejewski said she had booked a Bali villa with a private pool as part of a post-breakup retreat.

"I wanted to go get my nails done and get mud baths and go back looking fabulous," she said.

But when she arrived at the airport on Thursday night Jetstar staff told her the flight had been cancelled.

"I used to work for the airlines so I take in my stride. [It's] better safe than sorry, but I'm trying to cancel my villa," Ms Jedrzejewski told the BBC.

Jake Powell said he managed to get back to Australia but his parents are stuck in Bali for another 10 days and may not be able to make a claim for the delay through their travel insurance.

Image copyright Kathie Powell
Image caption Jake Powell's father has been on the phone to his travel insurance from the airport

"[Mum] was supposed to fly back tonight to Sydney and catch a connecting flight to Newcastle so I could pick her and Dad up tomorrow at 1pm," Jake told the BBC.

Wendy Robertson, 78, was hoping to return from Bali feeling relaxed, but has instead been stuck with little information about when she and her eight-year-old grand-daughter, Ashley, will get home.

"I have run out of my medications for blood pressure and diabetes," she told Fairfax. "I have to take them every day, I only brought a supply for six days.

"I am in a hiatus. There is no information. All I got was a recorded message. I was told I can arrange to confirm my booking online but I am 78-years-old. I [can't] access online."


How long will this go on?

Forecasters say the situation is somewhat unpredictable as it is a matter of waiting for Mount Raung to stop erupting.

"This volcano has been erupting for about a week and it's been streaming ash constantly," Chris Davies from Darwin's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre told the BBC.

"It's not an explosive eruption, just a constant stream and because the summit is so high it doesn't take much ash to interfere with flights.

"The most dangerous aspect for aviation is that modern jet engines pull in so much air and the ash concentrates in engines and turns into a kind of molten glass.

"The ash melts, coats inside of the engine and affects fuel flow, so in the worst case scenario it can cause engines to shut off."


Along with Denpasar airport, Lombok's international airport, Selaparang Airport also in Lombok, Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java and Notohadinegoro Airport in Jember, East Java are also closed.

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