China airlines halt Bali flights

China | 5 Dec 2017

China's aviation authority has suspended all flights from the Indonesian holiday island of Bali to Chinese cities until the threat of volcanic ash clears, the state-run People's Daily newspaper has reported.

Clouds of volcanic ash from Mount Agung disrupted flights to and from the island's airport last week, stranding many thousands of tourists. The ash can damage aircraft engines, even engine failure, and hampers visibility.

Flights began resuming when the airport reopened on Wednesday, after the wind changed direction taking the ash away from flight paths.

Individual airlines make their own decisions on whether to operate.

China halted further flights after the return yesterday of the last charter that brought back home 15,237 Chinese tourists, the People's Daily newspaper said on its Twitter page.

China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines would only resume flights after the situation clears in Bali, the airlines said.

China has overtaken Australia this year as Bali's biggest source of international visitors, representing about a quarter of the 4.9 million arrivals from January to September.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroh, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency, said on Twitter that the volcano stopped spewing ash yesterday except for white smoke that rose one km into the air.


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