Thousands of travelers have been stranded in Bali as major airlines canceled flights for the third straight day, with at least another day of delays looming.
This is the second time in the last few months that a volcanic eruption has detoured Bali travelers. In July eruptions on Mount Raung in East Java caused four airport closures during peak holiday season.
Almost 700 flights have been canceled and Indonesia has closed Bali’s main international airport. Other airport closures at Ngurah Rai airport on Bali, Selaparang airport on Lombok, and Blimbingsari airport in Banyuwangi, on the eastern end of Java.
Singapore Airlines is offering travelers refunds for cancelled flights, and Jetstar is allowing travelers to rebook tickets or receive credit vouchers.
The ash from Mt Rinjani, on the island of Lombok east of Bali, began emitting debris on October 25 after a small explosive eruption took place. This is one of Indonesia’s 100 most active volcanoes.
According to the local Straight Times, airport closures will remain in place until at least Thursday, Nov. 5. The country’s meteorology agency claims there is still a high risk of continued eruption, and has been monitoring tremors coming from the volcano.
All hiking at Rinjani National Park has been prohibited and reports have said hikers were evacuated. Camping or visiting Rinjani is prohibited within a 3km radius of Barujari Crater.
Among the thousands of delayed travelers is alleged Indian crime boss Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, known in India as “Chotta Rajan.” Nikalje is being charged with 70 counts of murder, extortion, and drug trafficking in Mumbai alone. After a two-decade-long manhunt he was arrested in Bali last week.