Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that Mount Raung was hurling thick smoke up to 2,000 meters into the air on Thursday which was drifting west. However he added it was not yet necessary to evacuate anyone living in the area. The airport on Bali, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign visitors each year, was closed twice last week during peak season, with the longest shutdown lasting two days.
Meanwhile, volcanic activity on Mt Gamalama, on Indonesia’s North Maluku island, shut Sultan Babullah global airport in Ternate. The disruptions, especially on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, mainly affected people traveling home to mark the end of Ramadan, in the world’s largest Muslim country.
Fears over airspace safety let to the closure of four small airports on Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, after fresh eruptions from Mt Raung, on the east of the island.
Passengers queue at an airine’s ticket counter as their flights are delayed or canceled following the closure of Juanda worldwide Airport due to the eruption of Mount Raung, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Thursday, July 16, 2015.
The same volcano last week temporarily caused the closure of airports including Bali’s Denpasar global.
Experts say that ash does not only cloud visibility, but it also damages aircraft when it gets sucked in by the engines as molten glass. Gamalama mountain in eastern Indonesia erupted Thursday after months of calmness.
Air traffic is regularly interrupted in Indonesia due to its 130 active volcanoes.
Closure of airports in Indonesia has resulted into chaos among thousands of Indonesians who were set to head to home to see their families on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
AirAsia has already cancelled or rescheduled half a dozen flights from Surabaya on Friday after the ministry had earlier ordered the airport to remain shut.
There was no immediate indication when the airport on Ternate might reopen.
It is unclear when they will reopen but the transport ministry said the situation was being “reevaluated every hour”.