Phuket International Airport has announced it will temporarily shut down operations in response to a tsunami warning issued after an magnitude 8.7 earthquake hit the west coast of northern Sumatra. An aftershock has also been recorded, of 8.3 magnitude, which occurred at 1143 UTC.
Currently, a SilkAir flight (MI756) on its way to Phuket had to turn back and should be touching down in Singapore shortly. According to a spokesperson from the carrier, SilkAir will continue to monitor the situation before making any more decisions about flight operations to and from Phuket airport.
Other carriers could not be reached for comment.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a tsunami watch for Indonesia, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore, among other places.
“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may already have been destructive along some coasts,” stated the PTWC. The PTWC provided estimated wave arrival times for the warning and watch areas. “When no major waves have occurred for at least two hours after the estimated arrival time local authorities can assume the threat is passed.”
According to PTWC predictions, a wave might hit Phuket at 1113 UTC. Other places predicted that might be hit within the next few hours include Bali, Chennai, Mumbai, Perth, Colombo and Singapore.
Business Traveller will continue to monitor the situation. For more information, contact your respective carriers or visit ptwc.weather.gov