Economy

Bali reopens as ash disperses but President urges caution

Bali reopens as ash disperses but President urges caution

Bali's airport was closed for two-and-a-half days earlier in the week owing to fears that ash from Agung could threaten flight safety.

The embassy has also assigned officials to operate the hotline and make plans to send officials and vehicles to assist the Vietnamese citizens in Bali in case the volcano re- erupts.

Mount Agung volcano, covered in clouds, erupts in the background as farmers plant peanuts near Kubu, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, December 1, 2017.

However, Jetstar and Qantas said they would not be taking any passengers from Australia into Bali, "given the likelihood of further volcanic activity and the potential that conditions change and lead to diversions or further cancellations".

Now, though, the wind has switched to a south-east direction, and the volcanic ash plume has subsided from 21,000 feet to 8,000 feet according to the latest bulletin.

Garuda Indonesia, the national airline, has announced seven domestic flights for Wednesday evening, and says it hopes to run a near-normal service on Thursday.

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About 150,000 travellers from around the world were stranded in Bali when flights resumed on Wednesday afternoon. It is seeking approval for extra flights, which is expected to be granted shortly.

The two carriers said in a joint statement they meant to operate a combined 10 scheduled flights from Denpasar to Australia, as well as six relief flights that included a Qantas-operated Boeing 747-400 service.

Some flights were cancelled on Friday even though the airport remained open.

But it warns: "Volcanic activity and ash cloud are unpredictable and flights may be cancelled at short notice". It warns: "Virgin Australia is advising guests now in Bali not to travel to Denpasar Airport without a confirmed rebooked flight".

Flights reportedly resumed at 3 p.m. local time, with passengers packing check-in counters at the airport, which was closed on Monday morning following the eruption of Mt. Agung on Saturday.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Indonesia has instructed some 60 Vietnamese citizens stuck in the Indonesian island of Bali to leave unsafe areas near Mount Agung, due to volcanic eruption, stated the Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.