Volcanic ash cloud in Bali leaves thousands of travellers stranded

Huge clouds have been erupting from Mount Raung in East Java

Bali's volcanic ash cloud leaves travellers stranded
Lava Churns Inside the Crater of Mount Raung

A volcanic ash cloud in Indonesia has left thousands of passengers stranded after airports closed and flights were cancelled.

Huge clouds of the ash have been shooting out of Mount Raung in East Java and it's thought that the eruption could continue for a number of weeks yet.

Travellers visiting Bali have been the worst affected with Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Garuda Indonesia all cancelling flights, the Guardian reports.

Bali's Denpasar airport is around 150km away from Mount Raung but the airport has been severely affected by the reduced visibility caused by the ash cloud.

According to ABC, poor visibility is the main issue affecting flights currently with strong winds pushing the ash cloud closer to Denpasar.

Jetstar operates cheap flights from Australia, New Zealand and Asia and Bali is a popular destination with many Australian holidaymakers.

The airline said: "We're not satisfied it is safe to operate services in these conditions."

"We regret the disruption these cancellations have caused travellers during the past week, but the safety of our customers and crew is our first priority.

"Our operations team is looking to put on additional services in and out of Bali over the coming days, subject to flying conditions improving."

Air New Zealand has announced that the situation will be reviewed on Saturday (11 July). Flights that were scheduled to leave the island today (Friday) have already been moved to Sunday but it's still not certain that these will be able to go ahead.

The airline said: "We apologise for the inconvenience to passengers. However, the ash conditions are outside Air New Zealand's safety parameters and we're unable to operate until the situation improves."

In May 2011 thousands of holidaymakers were affected when an ash cloud erupted from Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland. It's thought that around 900 flights ended up being cancelled as a result of the ash cloud, which continued to spread and affect visibility for a number of days.

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