Mount Merapi activity forces flight cancellations

7 Nov 2010

The volatile situation of Mount Merapi in central Java has wreaked havoc on Indonesia’s aviation scene. Some 36 flights to and from Jakarta were cancelled yesterday, November 6, 2010, a spokeperson of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport told media last night.

Affected were the schedules of regional carriers including Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, as well as long-haul airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa. However, Indonesian flag carrier Garuda and budget airline Lion Air continued to operate.

Nicholas Ionedes, Singapore Airlines’ vice-president for public affairs, said the precaution was taken at 3am on November 6 “based on the information that we had from the volcanic ash advisory centre in Darwin…the latest was that the ash cloud was moving in a manner that made it prudent for us to cancel those flights”.

Cathay Pacific’s flights to and from Jakarta, CX777, CX776,CX718, scheduled to depart this morning, were also been cancelled, with the airline saying it was continuing to monitor the afternoon conditions. Customers on scheduled operating flights are advised to use the Arrivals and Departures tool on to search for latest flight status before departing for the airport. They are also asked to input their contact details in Manage My Booking to ensure they get the latest status via SMS or email.

As in the usual instances of natural calamities, CX will waive all ticket rebooking/reissuance fees for passengers who were to have travelled to its Indonesian ports (Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar) as origin or destination. This includes tickets issued originally on or before Novembe 6, 2010 for travel between November 6 and November 8, 2010.

Singapore Airlines also cancelled its morning services to Jakarta and will provide additional information when it becomes available. Its website announced that “affected customers may call +65 65807999 (Singapore) or +62 21 52997888 (Indonesia) for rebooking. For other countries, they can go to SIA is waiving cancellation/change fees for confirmed tickets to and from Jakarta, issued on or before November 6, 2010 for travel between November 6 and 13, 2010.

Margie T Logarta

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