28 Jan 2011

Thousands of passengers stranded by volcano

10:08 pm on 28 January 2011

Indonesian authorities have advised airlines to avoid airspace within 200 nautical miles of a volcano in east Java which continues to spew out ash causing havoc for thousands of passengers.

The eruption of 2329-metre-high Tengger Caldera in east Java on Thursday has led to the cancellation of flights for a second day, stranding passengers bound for Bali from Australia, as well as those headed in the opposite direction, AAP reports.

Virgin Blue and Jetstar on Friday again cancelled flights to and from Denpasar, the main airport serving Bali, while Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines either cancelled or diverted services to the popular holiday island.

A spokeswoman for Jetstar said 900 of its passengers in Australia had been affected by the delays, while 1600 were stranded in Bali. The airline has offered passengers in Bali the option of delaying their travel or taking alternative routes to get home.

Virgin Blue has 875 passengers in Bali affected by the cancellations, and 1000 people in Australia forced to delay their plans.

The airlines say they will update their advice to passengers on Saturday.

Indonesia's Transport Ministry says it is monitoring the volcanic ash cloud and is in contact with authorities in other countries affected.

No domestic services had been cancelled in Indonesia as a result of the volcanic ash cloud, it says.