The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar has been closed by the continuing eruption of Mt Agung. This leaves Bali flights disrupted again. Mt Agung is one of a number of active volcanoes near near Denpasar (Bali). The airport has been opened on and off since the afternoon of 29th November, but this may change at short notice.
Update 4th December: The situation continues to fluctuate with the changing winds. The airport has reopened and most airlines are operation most of, if not all, flights. Airlines (including Virgin Australia and AirAsia) operating limited flights add the condition that the list may change at short notice. Check the Bali governors initiatives as well as the link for your airline, below, for the latest information.
The governor of Bali Province has implemented a number of initiatives that will provide assistance to travellers caught by the flight disruptions. This is an official site.
- Assistance with hotel accommodation costs (limited exemption/best rates)
- Bus transport to Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport. This will take 12 hours and cost USD 23, inclusive of a meal on the way.
- Assistance is available for those needing visa extension or other changes.
There are phone numbers in the advice, some which accept WhatsApp.
Prevailing winds at this time of year are very changeable in direction, making prediction of the movement of the ash cloud from the on-going eruption difficult. Fight path planning is difficult as the situation can change within a few hours. This is particularly challenging for those airlines with longer routes into Bali and Lombok, as conditions can change after the flight has already taken off, resulting in some unhappy passengers ending up back where they started.
Bali flights disrupted by airport closure
November 2017 – Airport is closed for at least 18 hrs (at the time of writing). All airlines flying into/out of Bali are affected. This situation is likely to continue for some time, so checking with your airline directly is your best option. Lombok Airport is also affected by the eruptions. As it’s further away, it may reopen for airlines to make quick trips in and out to help clear the passenger backlog. You can also check if your airline can fly you into or out of Surabaya, in Eastern Java.
If you have travel insurance, make sure you’re covered. If you don’t, remember that it’s a good idea to purchase it to cover various eventualities.
Please also note that these cancellations may impact other flights by your airline, due to the unavailability of those aircraft which cannot currently leave Denpasar. One example is AirAsia flights between Kolkata and Kuala Lumpur (QZ 510 and QZ 511).
What can travellers do?
Check the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (Go down the page to Darwin VAAC and look further down for AGUNG). This won’t tell you about your flight, but may help you decide whether the conditions are likely to improve or worsen.
If you already have your booking, you’ll need to check directly with your airline – most update their pages regularly when these situations arise. If your airline isn’t listed here, check your ticket for contact details.
- Virgin Australia updates their information regularly, as do Jetstar and Qantas.
- Air New Zealand operates fewer flights to Bali and doesn’t update so regularly.
- AirAsia, being closer, generally asks travellers to check before leaving for the airport. They post travel alerts across the top of their homepage with a link. The is also a new support page listing various options for affected travellers.
- Malindo Air has a number of daily flights. They have provided information for affected passengers.
- Garuda has a running banner which they use for any ‘News Flash’ information.
- MalaysiaAirlines have a News alert at the bottom of the Home page. They are also organising transport for affected passengers to Surabaya, so they can fly out from there. Register at the dedicated service counter at the airport. More up to date information is available on their Facebook page.
- Singapore Airlines posts information as ‘Important’ at the top of their Home Page.
- Cathay Pacific puts their Travel Alerts on their home page as well.
- If you’re travelling Thai Airways, there’s nothing on their home page, so you’d be best to call to check before you leave for the airport.
Any other ideas?
Many airlines are getting information and updates out quickly via Facebook and Twitter, both good places to check.
I Gusti Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport is not a great site for information as their updates are occasional. The information is all in Bahasa Indonesia and translation is a bit ‘wobbly’.