Ash from a volcanic eruption forced the closure of the worldwide airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday, as Mount Agung volcano became active again after a lull since late past year.
This is not the first time that the airport has been closed due to Mount Agung and this time, 48 flights had been cancelled, affecting 8,334 passengers, including 38 global flights and 10 domestic flights.
Bali's main worldwide gateway will be closed until at least Friday evening, according to officials, who added that two other domestic airports were also shut.
The early morning closure of Ngurah Rai airport sparked the cancellation of almost 280 flights to and from the tropical paradise with some 15,700 passengers affected, according to revised figures from an airport spokesman.
Mt Agung is about 70km northeast of Bali's tourist hotspot of Kuta.
Activity at the volcano was high last year and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but it had been quieter this year.
The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.
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Two other airports in East Java were also ordered closed on Friday, according to DPA news agency. Volcanic ash can damage aircraft engines, clog fuel and cooling systems, and affect visibility.
Indonesia is the world's most active volcanic region and lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities.
Mount Agung volcano erupts during the night, as seen from Datah village, Karangasem Regency in Bali, Indonesia on June 29, 2018.
Himawari satellite data from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) show that volcanic ash had covered the air space above Ngurah Rai airport. "We hoped that we could leave this morning, but the airport is closed", she said.
The only three flights this morning to Bali from Melbourne were cancelled with passengers with tickets to fly in the afternoon to the tourist island still holding their breath. A 4km exclusion area remains around Mount Agung.
"We will try our best to find a solution so all visitors can continue their trip", Made Mangku Pastika said.