Most airports in Indonesia remained closed Friday after two volcanic eruptions spewed ash into the atmosphere over the past few days and led to flight cancellations. The disruptions, especially on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, mainly affected people traveling home to mark the end of Ramadan, in the world's largest Muslim country.
While the eruption on Mount Raung on East Java on Wednesday and last Friday disrupted flights to and from the tourist resort island of Bali, Thursday's eruption on Mount Gamalama -- on an island in northern Indonesia -- kept an airport on the remote eastern island of Ternate shut, AFP reported, quoting Indonesia’s transport ministry. The status of Malang airport in East Java was not immediately clear.
Juanda International Airport in the city of Surabaya in East Java opened Friday while the airport on Bali also re-opened, BBC reported. However, airline officials reportedly cautioned passengers about major delays at the reopened airports.
Garuda Indonesia, which announced on its website that Bali's airport was reopened Friday afternoon and that it would resume flights from there, said in a statement that it planned to resume flights to and from Surabaya Friday afternoon, and would deploy two larger planes as back-up to clear the traffic build-up on its busy routes, AFP reported.
"Garuda Indonesia flights to and from destinations will only be resumed as each airport is reopened by the competent authority," the airline said, in a statement, according to AFP. However, it also said that the flights to the closed airports have been cancelled.
Following the transport ministry’s order to close the airports, AirAsia Berhad reportedly cancelled or rescheduled half a dozen flights from Surabaya Friday. On Friday, AirAsia announced on its website that Surabaya's Juanda airport had reopened in the morning, "earlier than scheduled as clouds of ash from Mount Raung's eruption begin to drift away from Surabaya's airspace."