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Virgin Australia, Jetstar cancel flights


JETSTAR has cancelled all flights in and out of Bali tonight but is hopeful of resuming services in the morning.
The low fares carrier had earlier delayed scheduled services in the hope the ash cloud over Denpasar might clear but it is yet to oblige.
“We regret the frustration these cancellations will cause our customers however we will always put safety before schedule,” a Jetstar spokesman said.
“As we’ve seen during the past three weeks, the movement of this ash cloud remains highly unpredictable.”
Virgin Australia cancelled ten of its flights in and out of Bali, and has announced it will delay daytime flights from Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane to Denpasar tomorrow by at least an hour.
Passengers are advised to go to airports in line with the new times, and further advice will be provided at 10am.
The volcanic ash cloud being pumped out of Mount Raung remains over Denpasar creating unfavourable conditions for flying.
Eruptions have gone on for more than three weeks now, but the intensity increased yesterday.
A wind change early tomorrow is expected to again push the ash cloud clear of Bali giving air traffic a better chance of operating to schedule.
Senior Meteorologist with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, Stephanie Bond, said they were expecting another change early tomorrow.
A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said the advice from meteorologists and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre was that “conditions were no longer safe for flying”.
The ash cloud caused dozens of flight cancellations early last week, and resulted in the closure of Ngurah Rai Airport twice in two days.
Airlines had just cleared the backlog of passengers when the ash plume began drifting over Bali again late yesterday.
Given the ongoing volcanic eruption at Mount Raung, Virgin Australia is offering passengers booked to fly to Bali up until July 28 the chance to switch to one of 12 other destinations at no extra cost.
The alternative destinations include Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and Phuket in Thailand, or a range of Australian holiday spots, such as Cairns, the Gold Coast, the Whitsundays and Broome in Western Australia.
Virgin Australia will next update its advice on flights in and out of Bali around 6pm.
The good news for travellers is that winds blowing the volcanic ash over Bali, should move more to the north tomorrow.
“The disruption to air traffic should be fairly shortlived this time around,” said senior meteorologist Stephanie Bond from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin.
“We’re expecting a wind change by daylight tomorrow.”
She said Indonesian volcanologists had advised the “energy” of the eruptions from Mount Raung had intensified, creating a thicker ash plume.
“We are expecting it will move closer to Denpasar airport throughout the day, ahead of the wind change,” said Ms Bond.
“It’s currently within 50km and already causing disruption.”