Virgin Australia suspends flights due to Indonesian volcanic eruption

14 Feb 2014 by Clement Huang

Virgin Australia has announced that its has cancelled all its Friday flights bound for Bali, Phuket, Christmas Island and Cocos Island, following the eruption of Mount Kelud in the province of east Java.

The emergency has also led to the closure of a number of airports in Java, including Yogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya. This was attributed to concerns of the effect volcanic ash can have on aircraft engines, as well as low visibility. Ash over an inch thick has been recorded throughout Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city.

According to the BBC, major airports have reported volcanic ash covering parts of the runways and aprons. The article quotes Andi Watson, general manager at Yogyakarta’s airport who said, “We have already measured the thickness of the volcanic ash, which is at 5cm on the runway and tarmac.”

More than 200,000 people have been urged to evacuate after officials raised the alert level yesterday. Some have been forced to leave their homes after Mount Kelud started spewing lava into the air.

There has not been any report of causalities from the incident.

Volcanic eruptions are not uncommon in Indonesia, with the country being home to about 130 active volcanoes. Earlier this month, Mount Sinabung erupted in North Sumatra killing 17 people.

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Clement Huang 

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