Mount Agung eruption: Indonesia issues highest aviation warning


The alert status was not changed from a level 3 alert, its second-highest level, despite the latest eruption, Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. However it warned that the movement of ash cloud is highly unpredictable and flights could still be cancelled at short notice.

Worldwide airlines including Jetstar and Qantas have cancelled flights to and from the popular tourist destination.

The Mount Agung volcano on Bali erupted with greater force Sunday, prompting some airlines to cancel flights to and from the popular resort island and forcing an global airport on a nearby resort island to close, according to local officials.

No seismic activity has accompanied the eruptions, and Indonesian officials have said the island remains safe outside of a 4.7-mile danger zone surrounding Mount Agung. The airport on neighbouring Lombok was closed later in the day, as the ash cloud was moving to the south-east of the crater towards the island.

The island's main airport is for now operating normally, but some airlines have cancelled flights.

The alert status remains at level 3, the second-highest level.

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"Mount Agung has erupted 18 times and we are used to such a condition", he said, while still urging people to prepare backpacks containing masks, flashlights, jackets and glasses. Increased volcanic activity had prompted fears a major eruption was imminent.

"Tourism in Bali is still safe, except in the danger (zone) around Mount Agung", the agency said in a statement.

People living within 7.5 kilometers of the mountain have been told to evacuate, senior volcanologist Gede Suantika said, advising residents to remain calm.

It is home to more than 130 active volcanoes. The alert was lowered on October 29 after a decrease in activity.

There are fears the volcano could erupt for the first time since 1963, when almost 1,600 people died.