Bali Airport Authorities See No Disruption over Ash Cloud

TUBAN
The Bali Times

The volcanic ash cloud causing travel chaos across Europe does not pose a risk to flights to and from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, and even if the hazardous plume does make its way to Bali, its impact would be negligible, the airport manager said on Sunday.

“Since there are no direct flights to and from Europe, we will not be affected,” Hero Legowo told The Bali Times.

However, international flights from Bali connect at regional hubs such as Singapore, which has been forced to cancel flights to parts of Europe. Singapore Airlines, a major carrier out of Bali with three flights to Singapore daily, said on Friday it had canceled seven flights to European cities.

The Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl) volcano in southern Iceland has been sending out thick ash clouds since April 14. It is not known when it will subside.

European air safety organisation Eurocontrol said it expected 5,000 flights on Saturday in European airspace, against a normal Saturday total of 22,000.

The International Civil Aviation Organization said the unprecedented shutdown exceeded the impact following the closure in September 2001 of airspace in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US.

“Although there are no precise figures yet, we estimate that the impact exceeds that of 2001 in terms of canceled flights and the inconvenience at airports,” spokesman Denis Chagnon said.

“Financially, the impact of the current situation may be more severe than in 2001,” he said.

The Meteorology Office at Bali’s airport said on Sunday that if the ash made its way to Asia, including Bali, it would only be residue of what is currently in the skies above Europe.

“There is a strong possibility that the ash cloud will not reach Asia. However, if it does arrive in the Asian region, it would only be of thin concentration,” it said.

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