Volcanic ash disrupts Bali flights again, particularly affecting those from more distant destinations, especially from Australia.
Prevailing winds at this time of year moving the ash cloud from the on-going eruption of Mt Rinjani on Lombok Island near Denpasar (Bali), make flight path planning 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.
What can travellers do?
As the situation is so unpredictable, especially for flights from the south, you could try travelling via Jakarta, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, which reported fewer flight disruptions in earlier similar incidents.
You can check the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (Go down the page to Darwin VAAC and look further down for RINJANI). 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. They’ll also tell you what to do if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
Air New Zealand operates fewer flights to Bali and doesn’t update so regularly, and AirAsia, being closer, generally asks travellers to check before leaving fro the airport. They post travel alerts across the top of their homepage with a link. 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 which is updated if there are disruptions to flights. 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.
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’.