Indonesian volcano eruption causes major interruption for Australian aviation
Tourists and business travelers wanting to fly out of Darwin in Northern Australia became the last victim of an Indonesian volcano outbreak.
Tourists and business travelers wanting to fly out of Darwin in Northern Australia became the last victim of an Indonesian volcano outbreak. Sangeang is among 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire.”
18 flights or more from around Australia and Asia were affected this morning with a plume of ash drifting over the Australian Northern Territory coastline from Sangeang Api volcano in the Lesser Sunda Islands.
Virgin, Jetstar, Qantas, Emirates and Airnorth airlines have all abandoned domestic and international flights.
Muhammad Hendrasto, head of Indonesia’s National Volcanology Agency, told Xinhua news agency that scores of farmers cultivating the land on the island, seven kilometers from the crater, had been told to leave the area after the eruption yesterday.
They had been warned not to re-enter the island during the eruption period, he added.
Emile Jansons, the manager of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, said the ash cloud had reached the Kimberley coast in Western Australia.
Mr. Jansons said volcanic ash can be hazardous to aircraft but the decision whether or not to fly is a safety and economic decision that rests with individual airlines.
Qantas confirmed that all flights into and out of the airport for today had been cancelled.
Virgin said in a statement on its website: “Due to the impacts of Volcano Sangeang Api Virgin Australia has made some changes to its current flight schedule. This has resulted in the cancellation of all flights into and out of Darwin today.
“Our team of meteorologists are continuing to monitor the situation, in consultation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, and we will recommence normal operations as soon as the volcanic ash cloud safely allows it.”
The airlines advised passengers to check flight statuses on their websites or call their customer services centers for more information.