Mount Raung in East Java has been belching ash into the atmosphere
Authorities have closed four airports, leaving many passengers stranded
Ash spewing from an Indonesian volcano has brought chaos for travelers on the popular resort island of Bali and beyond, prompting the closure of four airports in the region.
No flights were going in or out of Bali’s Denpasar airport on Friday as nearby Mount Raung, at the eastern end of the island of Java, continued to belch ash and gas into the atmosphere, officials said.
The other affected airports in the area are Lombok, Banyuwangi and Jember, according to a post on Twitter by Garuda Indonesia, the county’s national airline. The closures will last until at least 10 p.m. Friday local time (11 a.m. ET), it said.
The volcanic activity has left some tourists stuck on Bali and others unable to get there to start their vacations.
More broadly, it’s disrupting air traffic at a peak time for travelers in Indonesia as many people make journeys ahead of the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the mainly Muslim nation.
Stranded at the airport
The decision to close the airports was taken on advice from Indonesia’s climatology, meteorology and geophysics agency, said Ida Bagus Juliatnyana, a spokesman for the national airport authority.
“We want to take precautions so we’re not allowing any flights in or out of Bali,” he told CNN.
The canceled flights left many passengers stuck in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Emma Hardy, an Australian tourist, told CNN that she and her family were planning to give up on their Bali trip and try to get to Thailand instead.
Another group of stranded travelers in Jakarta said they were going to attempt to make their way to Bali over land and sea.
The airport closures in Indonesia brought memories of the massive disruption to air travel caused by an Icelandic volcano in 2010. The Eyjafjallajokull eruption forced the cancellation and diversion of thousands of flights per day at the height of the crisis, affecting millions of passengers.
CNN’s Kathy Quiano reported from Jakarta, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. CNN’s Chieu Luu in Hong Kong and journalist Rafael Setyo contributed to this report.