An eruption of the Mount Raung in East Java lead to the closure of four Indonesian airports including the International Airports of Denpasar (Bali) and Lombok during the peak of the holiday season.
The current situation is that Denpasar Airport will remain completely closed until at least 21:30h, today July 10th 2015. After this, operations will resume slowly if the situation permits. As of this moment, thousands of travelers are stranded either at the new Denpasar Airport or in some instances passengers were able to secure a hotel on the island and extend their holiday.
Channel News Asia reported on the matter (access article here) that so far about 250 flights have been cancelled with operations not expected to be picking up again until later tonight, subject to the conditions and permission from the authorities.
Trikora Harjo, general manager at Ngurah Rai, said that 230 flights — 160 domestic and 170 international — had so far been cancelled at the airport due to the ash cloud.
“Right now the authorities have declared that the airport will be closed until 9:30 pm (1330 GMT), totally closed,” he said.
Denpasar is a very busy international and domestic airport in Indonesia due to Bali’s large popularity with holidaymakers from around the world, especially Asia and Australia. Some airlines including Air Asia, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Garuda Indonesia and Virgin Australia have large scale operations there and should passengers be booked to either travel to or leave from DPS it is strongly advised to consult the airline for further information.
As per the Channel News Asia Report:
Virgin Australia said in a statement that “our team of meteorologists continue to work closely with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin and monitor the situation.
“Once conditions improve, additional flights will be scheduled between Australia and Denpasar to ensure we can have guests on their way as soon as possible.”
Jetstar also grounded its services and asked passengers to contact them for further information.
Air New Zealand said that a flight due to depart from Bali on Saturday afternoon had been rescheduled to leave early Sunday, conditions permitting.
Affected Garuda passengers who wish to cancel or change their flight details are advised to visit any Garuda Indonesia’s ticketing office for or contact its call centre by dialing +622123519999.
AirAsia confirmed its 13 routes to and from Bali and Lombok had been cancelled and affected customers could apply for a re-schedule without additional fees or a credit.
All Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights to Denpasar were also cancelled, according to a Singapore Airlines Limited spokesman.
In a case like this, airlines usually put travel waivers in place that allow passengers to either change their flights or cancel free of charge. Hotels might also be willing to grant exceptions for their customers and be flexible as far as changes and cancellations go. For carrier/hotels without such provisions or if you have purchased your trip as a holiday package it would be the best to consult the tour operator or your travel insurance. If you are unsure if you indeed have a travel insurance be aware that some premium credit cards such as American Express Charge Cards often include such policies for their members.
I have traveled to Bali at least 15 times and can just imagine how chaotic the airport must be right now. I can still remember when in 2010 the ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ in Iceland erupted and the volcanic ash plume disrupted air travel in northern Europe for several weeks causing massive chaos and huge financial losses for the airlines.
For those passengers stranded in Bali right now it’s probably the best suggestion to hold out and try to sort out things from the comfort of a hotel. As with all cancellation, it is often much easier to resolve a cancelled flight via telephone instead of at the airport where options are limited and lines are horrendously long.