UPDATE: Bali, Mt Agung

30 Nov 2017

Officials reopened Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) at around 1500 on November 29, as ash from the Mount Agung volcano shifted direction. However, officials have cautioned that the airport could be closed again if winds change direction and columns of smoke and ash from the rumbling volcano pose a risk to flights. As of the morning of November 29, Lombok International Airport (LOP) remains open, but short-notice closures are possible if wind conditions change. Airport closures could be protracted if volcanic activity continues at the current level or intensifies. Depending on winds and the duration of the eruption, ash could be carried aloft and affect operations at other airports in eastern Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands (Kepulauan Nusa Tenggara), or possibly northern Australia, although problems have so far been concentrated around Bali, Lombok, and the easternmost part of Java. 

The airport closures have affected airline network operations, particularly since Denpasar handles many flights to and from destinations in eastern Indonesia. Individual airlines could still cancel flights after the airports reopen if airborne ash continues to be a problem on standard flight routes or approach paths to airports on Bali or Lombok. Transcontinental flights between Australia and Asia and the Middle East have been largely unaffected; some planes have detoured away from normal routes over Bali, but this has not added much time to flights. 

The alert status of Mount Agung remains at four - the highest on Indonesia's four-point scale - after it was raised early on November 27. Authorities have ordered 100,000 residents living near the volcano to evacuate, and more people could be ordered to leave an exclusion zone that has been extended up to 10 km (6 miles) from the volcano. Many foreign governments are advising their citizens to defer travel to Bali until the situation improves. 

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