Jakarta. Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport remained open on Tuesday (03/07) despite a fresh eruption by Mount Agung on Monday night, the airport operator said.
"Himawari satellite imaging shows that by 10:00 a.m., the wind direction and the spread of volcanic ash were leading towards the west and not into Ngurah Rai Airport airspace," state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I said in a statement.
The airport operator also conducted tests to detect volcanic dust in the air and confirmed that there was none around the airport. Volcanic dust can ruin jet engines if sucked in during operation.
"Ngurah Rai International Airport is always ready with contingency plans to ensure optimum service to passengers during this high-alert period," Angkasa Pura I said.
Mount Agung, located about 75 kilometers northeast of the airport, erupted late on Monday, hurling lava and ash kilometers into the air and causing residents to flee their homes.
The volcano has been rumbling since late last year and there was a temporary closure of the island's international airport on Friday, disrupting flights and stranding thousands of travelers.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said residents heard a loud explosion and saw flaming volcanic rocks thrown at least 2 kilometers out of the crater.
The eruption lasted for about seven minutes and photographs posted by the agency showed glowing lava streaming from the crater, setting fire to vegetation.
"Residents have started evacuating voluntarily," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said, adding that the airport remained operational and that there was no change in the volcano's alert status.
Mount Agung last had a major eruption in 1963, when more than 1,000 people died and several villages on its slopes were razed.
Additional reporting by Reuters