Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, continued to operate normally on Monday, despite nearby Mount Agung erupting twice since Sunday. (Antara Photo/Fikri Yusuf)

Bali Airport on High Alert After Mount Agung Eruptions

APRIL 22, 2019

Jakarta. Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport has been placed on high alert after Mount Agung, an active volcano on the tourist island, erupted over the past two days. 

The volcano erupted twice on Sunday, sending a column of ash more than 6,000 meters into the air, which was blown westward toward nearby Java Island.

The international airport, located southwest of the volcano, has been placed on high alert as the ash could damage jet engines, but airport authorities said the intensity is not yet high enough to warrant a complete closure. 

"Ngurah Rai Airport will continue to operate normally, based on data currently available from stakeholders," airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim said on Sunday. 

Arie said the authorities, including state-run air traffic control agency AirNav, airlines and ground handling companies, are on standby to act immediately, should there be any significant change in the volcano's status. 

Ida Bagus Arimbawa, head of the disaster mitigation agency in Bali's Karangasem district, said there were no reports of fatalities or injuries, nor calls to evacuate the area surrounding the volcano. Several parts of the island, including Karangasem, Bangli, Klungkung, Gianyar, Badung and the capital Denpasar, have been affected by ash fallout.

Mount Agung has been experiencing a series of eruptions since 2017. Thousands of people living in its vicinity were displaced between September and November 2017, when the eruptions also forced the closure of the airport, leaving many tourists stranded.