Jakarta, Nov 5: Bali's international airport will remain closed until tomorrow due to ash erupting from a nearby volcano, Indonesian officials said, grounding hundreds of flights for a second consecutive day.
The Ngurah Rai International Airport on the resort island has been closed since late Tuesday because of a large ash cloud drifting from Mount Rinjani, an active volcano on the nearby island of Lombok.
Authorities today confirmed Bali's major terminal would remain closed until at least tomorrow morning, leaving thousands of passengers in the lurch for another day, as they wait for conditions above the airport to improve.
"The closure of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport... will be extended until approximately 07:45 AM (0615 IST) tomorrow because of volcanic ash from Mt Rinjani," transport ministry spokesman JA Barata told AFP by text message.
Two airports on Lombok - including the international terminal - and a smaller airport on East Java that were all affected by the ash would also remain shut, he added.
Nearly 700 flights, including 320 international ones, were cancelled between Tuesday and today due to the closure, airport manager Trikora Harjo said. He did not have an updated figure on how many more would be cancelled as a result of this latest decision.
Virgin Australia confirmed it had cancelled all flights for today and tomorrow to and from Bali as a result of the "unsafe" flying conditions, while Jetstar scrapped its Denpasar-bound flights for today and some for tomorrow.
Indonesian carrier Garuda also cancelled all flights for today in the affected area, while AirAsia said as many as 67 flights to and from Bali would not be proceeding.
The deportation of an Indian fugitive wanted in his home country for up to 20 murders has also been delayed, after the crime boss was arrested in Bali more than a week ago.
Air traffic is regularly disrupted by volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, which sits on a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean and is home to the highest number of active volcanoes in the world, with around 130.