Indonesia Shuts Down 5 Airports As Volcano Erupts

Indonesian authorities have shut five airports, including on the popular holiday islands of Bali and Lombok, because of a volcanic eruption, causing about 250 flights to be cancelled and stranding thousands of holidaymakers.

Mount Raung in East Java has been erupting for nearly a week, spewing clouds of ash.

“I can’t say at this time how many passengers have been affected,” said Farid Indra Nugraha, a spokesman for airport operator Angkasa Pura 1.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia cancelled all its flights to and from the affected airports, it said on its official Twitter account.

“Bali is our second largest hub and this will also affect our international connecting flights,” said Ikhsan Rosan, a spokesman for the airline.

The closures came during peak holiday season in Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia which attracts millions of foreign tourists every year to its palm-fringed beaches.

The international airport on popular Lombok island was also among those closed, transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata said.

“It’s pretty chaotic,” Katie Nagar, an American expatriate living in Indonesia told the AFP news agency.
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