Bali reopens airport after volcano eruption strands thousands of tourists

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There was no indication of how long the eruption might last, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the disaster mitigation agency said in a statement, and the alert level on the volcano remains unchanged for now.

"Due to volcanic ash cloud caused by Mount Agung in Bali, it is now not safe to operate flights to or from Denpasar Airport", Jetstar said in a statement. Although an exclusion zone around the carter has been marked at 4 km, planes need to avoid flying through volcanic ash as it might cause damage to aircraft engines, cooling systems, clog fuel and hamper visibility.

The eruption of Mount Agung in eastern Bali on Thursday has triggered at least 48 flight cancellations including those operated by Malaysia-based AirAsia and Australia's JetStar.

Denpasar airport's online flight information board showed Australian airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas had also cancelled flights to and from the island.

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Airlines are now scrambling to clear the backlog of thousands of passengers disrupted by the eruption of Mount Agung on Bali. Those missed flights have been re-booked to leave tomorrow morning.

Two small airports, at Banyuwangi and Jember in eastern Java, also closed because of the ash threat.

The airport had been closed since 3 a.m. local time on Friday.

Despite the eruption, Agung's status remained on alert level, the second highest danger warning.

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However, airlines are continuing to monitor the situation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin.

It had a dramatic increase in activity last year, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but had quietened by early this year. Mount Agung is about 70km northeast of Bali's tourist hotspot of Kuta.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position in the highly active ring of fire - a belt of tectonic plate boundaries in the Pacific Ocean which is vulnerable to frequent seismic activity.

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