A cheap holiday to Bali has become significantly more expensive for thousands of uninsured Australian tourists who are still stranded after another eruption from Mount Raung.
Denpasar airport, located just 150 kilometres away from the active volcano, has been closed twice since Mt Raung erupted on July 2 due to an ash cloud which affected visibility and had the potential to block jet engines. Wind blew the ash towards Denpasar airport.
More favourable weather conditions allowed Jetstar and Virgin Australia to resume flights on Wednesday. However, continued disruptions to flying schedules are expected as Mt Raung continues to erupt.
Craig Earl-Spurr from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) said in the Sydney Morning Herald that the cloud is the result of a “mild low-level eruption” from Mount Raung.
“It’s not uncommon to see these plumes… last a few days, sometimes even weeks,” he said. “It’s very difficult to tell if this is the end of it or if it will continue over the coming days.”
Travellers have been advised to keep up to date with any changes to flight information via Jetstar and Virgin Australia’s websites and social media channels.
Up to 9000 Australians have returned home from Bali over the past two days as airlines worked to get as many people home as possible before a change in weather conditions. There are still thousands of tourists stranded in Bali.
Virgin Australia spokeswoman Danielle Keighery told news.com.au that “It will take a few days to clear the backlog (of tourists returning home) if we have favourable conditions”.
An estimated 80 services by Jetstar and Virgin Australia were cancelled. The flight cancellations has meant that many travellers are facing unplanned travel costs.
“We’ve had many calls from people who are stuck in Bali and want to come home ASAP,” said Dean Van Es, Director of Fast Cover Travel Insurance. “Many people have had to book additional accommodation and lodge a claim with their travel insurance provider.”
Allianz Insurance, which underwrites Fast Cover Travel Insurance, has established a team to manage calls specifically relating to the ash cloud. So far they have received 905 claim notifications ranging from flight delays and cancellations to extended stays for pets in catteries.
Those without insurance have been forced to pay for additional accommodation and general living costs.
Approximately 30 per cent of the 16,000 Australians travelling to Bali each week go without travel insurance.