Bali’s Denpasar airport reopened Wednesday afternoon, creating a possibly brief opportunity for airlines to clear a backlog of stranded passengers. An eruption of Volcano Agung on the Indonesian holiday island closed the airport Monday and Tuesday as huge ash plumes emptied airspace and partially settled on the facility.
AirNav Indonesia issued a notam (Notice to Airmen) announcing the reopening of Denpasar on Wednesday at 2:28 p.m. local time. “Thus flight from and to the airport is back to normal operation," said Vishnu Darjono, director of operations for AirNav Indonesia, in a statement.
Wary that favorable weather conditions might change again or that the volcano could erupt more violently, airlines have hastened efforts to move a backlog of passengers that numbers in the tens of thousands. Airlines canceled close to 900 flights during the two day closure, although some passengers made lengthy land and sea journeys to use other airports.
“We are planning to operate some relief flights out of Bali to get as many people back to Australia as possible,” a Jetstar official said. “Our senior pilots will make further assessments tonight and tomorrow morning based on the latest information from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. We will provide customers further updates if the situation changes.”
Singapore Airlines and Scoot have also said they will operate on Thursday but have urged travelers to pay attention to flight information given the “fluid” situation. As a precautionary measure, Jetstar will not take passengers to Bali tomorrow, citing the likelihood of further volcanic activity and the potential for conditions to change. Scoot has decided to sell Bali-bound tickets until December 4.