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July 22, 2015

Bali Ash Cloud Grounds South Pacific Flights

Photo by Freeimages.com/Roger Olivier

Several media outlets are reporting that an ash cloud out of Bali forced the cancellation of more than 10 flights between Virgin Australia and Jetstar airlines Wednesday night (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Flights were still expected to be either canceled or delayed heading into Thursday morning.

According to the Herald Sun, Virgin Australia cancelled 10 of its flights in and out of Bali, and has announced it will delay daytime flights from Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane to Denpasar Thursday morning (AEST) by at least an hour. 

Sky News reported that unfavorable winds are pushing ash from Mount Raung in Indonesia back towards Denpasar, forcing the closure of the city's airport, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre says. The ash can choke jet engines and destroy airplane bodywork. Passengers are advised to go to airports in line with the new times, and further advice will be provided at 10 a.m. (AEST) Thursday.

The volcanic ash cloud being pumped out of Mount Raung remains over Denpasar, creating dangerous conditions for flying. Eruptions have gone on for more than three weeks now, but the intensity increased Wednesday (AEST), according to the Herald Sun.

A wind change is expected to again push the ash cloud clear of Bali, giving air traffic a better chance of operating to schedule sometime Thursday (AEST).

The ash cloud caused dozens of flight cancellations early last week, and resulted in the closure of Ngurah Rai Airport twice in two days, according to the Herald Sun.

Airlines had just cleared the backlog of passengers when the ash plume began drifting over Bali again late Wednesday (AEST).

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