Thousands Stranded in Bali as Erupting Volcano Grounds Flights

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcanic eruption has stranded thousands of airline passengers on the Indonesian island of Bali and led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights in and out of the popular resort destination, with no relief in sight until at least Thursday.


Flights in and out of Bali were canceled as Mount Rinjani spewed ash and smoke. CreditPikong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mount Rinjani on the neighboring island of Lombok began erupting Tuesday, spewing ash and smoke for miles, according to the National Agency for Disaster Management, and continued erupting on Wednesday. Lombok is a smaller but also popular resort island in central Indonesia.

More than 700 flights have been canceled or delayed since Tuesday. Ngurah Rai International Airport on Bali will remain closed until at least Thursday morning, when officials hope to resume flight operations, the local news media reported, quoting Ministry of Transportation officials.

The eruption also forced the closing of the main airports in Lombok and in Banyuwangi, in East Java Province, west of Bali.

The eruption is disrupting multiple conferences and meetings in Bali this week, including one involving Charles H. Rivkin, the United States assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, who was scheduled to travel there on Thursday from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, where he has been on an official visit.

Mr. Rivkin, speaking to journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday, said his travel plans hinged on the latest weather reports, although he expressed hope that he could continue his trip.

In July, a volcanic eruption in East Java Province forced Bali’s airport to close and stranded thousands of passengers.

Indonesia lies along the Pacific “ring of fire,” where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are common. The country is in one of the most seismically active regions in the world.