Technicians cover a jet engine at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali to protect it from volcanic ash spewed from Mount Agung on Friday evening. (Photo courtesy of Bali airport authority)

Bali's Mount Agung Spews More Ash, Airport Remains Open


MAY 25, 2019

Jakarta. Bali's Mount Agung volcano spewed a 3-kilometer column of ash into the air, forcing the cancellation of at least nine scheduled flights to and from Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar on Friday evening.

However, officials said the airport was operating normally.

The latest eruption in a series since last year lasted about four-and-a-half minutes, according to a seismograph reading at the Rendang monitoring post, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said in a statement on Friday.

Thick ash has settled on nine villages in Karangasem district at the foot of the volcano.

People living along the slopes, tourists and hikers are prohibited from entering a 4-kilometer radius around the crater.

"The distance between the peak of Mount Agung and Ngurah Rai International Airport is about 70 kilometers … it's still operating normally," Sutopo said.

There was light volcanic rain around the airport and air traffic controllers have been trying to direct flights to avoid the area, Bali airport authority head Elfi Amir said in a separate statement on Friday.

"Passengers don't need to panic, because we have standard operating procedures and contingency plans for situations involving volcanic ash. The government continues to prioritize aviation safety," Elfi said.

Polana Pramesti, aviation director general at the Ministry of Transportation, said four flights to and five from Bali were canceled due to safety assessments by the airlines.

"We will continue to provide updates on the Mount Agung eruption," she said.