Bali airport reopens as volcano rumbles

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The initial numbers given were almost 450 flights cancelled and 75,000 travellers affected.

"Volcanic ash around the island of Bali following the eruption of Mt Agung means it is now not safe to operate flights to and from Denpasar Airport", a Qantas statement said.

Ngurah Rai is a regional hub that serves more than 400 flights.

Operations at Bali's airport were disrupted for more than a week in early December, stranding thousands of visitors before winds changed to blow the smoke away and the volcano calmed down.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency has also informed that almost 450 flights were cancelled.

"Based on the meteorology agency prediction, the volcanic ash will reach the airport on Friday morning", airport spokesman Yanus Suprayogi said in a statement, adding that a possible extension of the airport closure after 7pm would be reviewed.

The airports, which were shut from 3 a.m. local time will remain closed at least until 9 p.m., PT Angkasa Pura, the state-run airport operator said in a statement. The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.

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Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption.

"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".

On November 27, the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority confirmed the threat level had been raised from Level Three to its highest possible number, Level Four.

"Bali dan Badung regency have prepared emergency funds. after learning from last year's experience", Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika told the Antara news agency during his visit to the airport. It has been erupting with various intensities since past year.

The volcano, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Bali's tourist hotspot of Kuta, last had a major eruption in 1963, killing about 1,100 people.

Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for seismic upheavals and volcanic eruptions.

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