Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts

The cancelled flights included those between Kuala Lumpur and Bali, between Bangkok and Bali, between Singapore and Bali, between Perth and Bali, between Jakarta and Bali, between Bandung and Bali, between Yogyakarta and Bali, and between Solo and Bali, it said.

Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes and 16,000 passengers have seen flights cancelled after a volcano erupted in Indonesia.

Volcanic ash is a potentially deadly threat to aircraft that can cause engines to "flame out".

Air New Zealand says flight NZ245 from Auckland to Bali, due to depart today, has been cancelled as a result of the volcanic activity.

Melbourne Airport spokesman Grant Smith said Malindo Air, Garuda Indonesia and Jetstar had scrapped their flight plans with up to 1000 passengers impacted.

"The airport could be closed again if the eruption affects flight safety".

There was no indication of how long the eruption might last, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the disaster mitigation agency said in a statement, and the alert level on the volcano remains unchanged for now.

The airport reopened at around 2.30pm local time, after it was expected to remain closed until 7.00pm.

Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Long lines at airport in Bali as flights are cancelled and delayed.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.

Flights were canceled for 24 hours and stranded 59,000 domestic and global passengers.

All three carriers said passengers will receive an SMS or email if their Bali flight is affected however Australians are urged to check airline website for flight status updates.

"At Flight Centre we are closely monitoring the situation and working with our customers due to travel to the region to provide support and advice".

General view of Mount Agung during an eruption on November 28, 2017.

Volcanic ash is hard and abrasive, and can damage propellers and turbo compressor blades, as well as scratching cockpit windows.

There have already been some shots of Agung's eruption from the air by those on the last flight out.

Agung towers over eastern Bali to a height of just over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet).

Passengers wait at Ngurah Rai worldwide airport on Thursday, June 28.

The volcanic activity began on Thursday, prompting several airlines to delay or cancel their flights to Bali prior to the Friday airport closure.

  • Rogelio Becker