Bali flights halted by ash cloud

 Bali flights halted by ash cloud

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have cancelled a string of flights in south-east Asia as an erupting volcano continues to pump ash into the atmosphere.

Mount Bromo in the east of Java erupted early on Thursday, spewing ash up to 370 kilometres to the north-east.

Jetstar and Virgin Blue have also suspended all flights to the holiday island of Bali as experts wait for the ash to clear.

Simon Westaway, Jetstar’s Head of Corporate Relations, said about 1500 passengers were scheduled to fly from Denpasar into Australia or Singapore, with about 800 people scheduled to head to Denpasar from those two countries.

“We are at the end of school holiday period,” he added.

“It is obvious there are a lot more people flying out of Bali than in.”

However, AirAsia has continued to operate all services in the region.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) in Australia first reported the eruption on Thursday, with thousands of passengers subsequently seeing flights disrupted.

A VAAC meteorologist based in Darwin, Billy Lynch, said the volcano could disrupt flights for several days.

“If it continues to erupt and the wind continues to blow the ash towards the airports, there could be disruptions,” he explained.

“It won’t really clear until the winds change; once there is ash in the atmosphere it tends to stay a while.”

Mount Bromo is part of the Tengger Caldera, a collection of five volcanoes in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.