Indonesia volcanic ash causes new Bali airport closure

media captionFootage from 10 July showed ash billowing into the sky forcing the closure of Bali airport

The airport on the Indonesian island of Bali has been forced to shut again due to ash from a volcanic eruption, authorities say.

The transport ministry said Denpasar airport would remain closed until at least 16:00 (08:00 GMT).

Mount Raung in East Java has been spewing ash into the air for nearly a week, raising concerns it could interfere with aircraft safety.

Bali is a top destination for tourists and many have been stranded.

The airport had been reopened on Saturday as the ash lifted but the wind has now brought it back.

"We will continue to monitor developments and decide if the closure will be extended later," transport ministry spokesman JA Barata told Agence France-Presse.

image copyrightAFP
image captionJetstar and Virgin Australia have cancelled flights out of Bali's Denpasar airport

Mount Raung is about 120km (75 miles) from Denpasar airport.

East Java's Blimbingsari and Notohadinegoro airports were also earlier affected.

Lombok's international airport, and a smaller one on the island, were reopened earlier on Friday.

Hundreds of flights have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled by airlines.

Analysis: Chris Davies, Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, Australia

This volcano has been erupting for about a week and it's been streaming ash constantly.

It's not an explosive eruption, just a constant stream and because the summit is so high it doesn't take much ash to interfere with flights.

The most dangerous aspect for aviation is that modern jet engines pull in so much air and the ash concentrates in engines and turns into a kind of molten glass.

The ash melts, coats inside of the engine and affects fuel flow, so in the worst case scenario it can cause engines to shut off, like we say with the BA 009.

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.

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