Volcanic Eruption Grounds Flights In Indonesia

Filed Under: Travel

A volcano on the island of Java has closed multiple airports across the country and caused many flights to be canceled including those to the popular tourist destination of Bali.

Mt. Raung, a 10,930 foot volcano located about 100 miles from Denpasar, has been rumbling for weeks but the activity increased sending large amounts of ash and gases into the air. The eruption isn’t explosive, per se, but rather a continued venting, which due to its height, can easily disrupt air traffic.

The Denpasar Airport on Bali will be closed until at least 21:30 local time at which point its status would be updated depending on conditions.  Other airports in nearby Lombok and Java are also affected.

Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport
Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport

From the BBC:

The BBC’s Alice Budisatrijo in Jakarta says the airport closures could not have come at a worse time, as the islands are popular with foreign and domestic tourists in the middle of the school holiday season.

Indonesians are also starting to travel home for the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so the disruption of flights to the smaller airports are being felt by many families, says our correspondent.

Victoria Welsby, from the UK, has been stranded at Denpasar airport since Thursday when her flight to Cairns was cancelled.

She told the BBC that she was “completely in limbo” and “cannot do anything more” after Jetstar put her on an outbound flight that is only leaving in 10 days.

Fortunately this eruption seems to be only affecting air travel, as authorities are not evacuating residents at this time. They are, however, advising the use of a face mask, especially for those who already suffer from breathing issues.

Some will also remember the headache that the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano in Iceland that I will never try to pronounce, had on the airline industry. That one continued for months, causing sporadic diversions that are costly both in terms of time and fuel.

My wife often says that Bali is “her favorite place on Earth.” That said, the Denpasar Airport is not exactly the most orderly airport in the world to begin with, so I’m sure it is quite chaotic at the moment with thousands of tourists needing to be accommodated by their airline.

I certainly hope that everyone stays safe and eventually gets where they’re going.

For those already in Bali, well, there are worse places in the world to be stranded.

Bali Sunrise at the beach
Sunrise from the Bali Hyatt from our 2013 trip

Is anyone currently in Bali, or planning travel in the region this week?

  1. Im actually flying into DPS tomorrow, fingers crossed airport will be open. Seeing some evening flights already otw to the airport though, like GA412 from CGK

  2. My geography is a little rusty but isn’t East Java west of Bali? Hundred miles east of Bali would be Lombok?

  3. No worries, p, your geography is perfectly fine. There is also no “island of East Java”. The island is Java. The volcano happens to be on the eastern end of it.

  4. Yep, supposed to say east Java, not East Java. That’s what happens when I write before breakfast. Or late at night. And sometimes during the day. 🙂

  5. I’m scheduled to leave for Bali in a couple weeks. Hope it stops erupting…although it could go on for week. 🙁

  6. My husband & I have been so exciting about of first trip to Bali. We are scheduled to depart on Tuesday morning, I really hope that it is ok by then….

  7. Bali is beautiful and the Balinese are so nice in so many ways. They are extraordinary. When I returned to HNL it seemed like NYC!

  8. I’m heading there in 2 months for my first ever aspirational trip, since I started this crazy hobby. I “blame” Alex (pointpros), since I told him to just pick a few destinations in Asia and include an island. So, Hong Kong, Bali, and Singapore it is! I’m really excited, and just hope this little volcano will keep it’s cool.

  9. I am supposed to fly Malaysian HKG-KUL-DPS tomorrow. I called up Malaysian to see what my options are if my flight to DPS is canceled. They said, “Just fly to KUL and we’ll figure out how to accommodate you once you’re here.” I don’t want to fly the first leg if I know the second leg is canceled but I’m not sure what else to do.

  10. I’m heading to Bali on the 29th for two weeks. I’m connecting through KUL and am wondering if I need to ditch Bali and start planning a different Malaysian based vacation. I would really hate to give up the 5 nights I have booked at St Regis Bali, though! For now, I’m planning on monitoring it for at least a week before I do anything rash.

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