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Stop-start Bali rescue airlift coincides with Aussie freeze

July 13, 2015 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australian holidaymakers had plenty to contend with over the weekend – and they still do.

A volcanic ash plume that brought on-again/off-again disruption to Bali flight schedules has stranded thousands of travellers, while a sudden cold snap in southeast Australia caused road accidents and dramatically slowed traffic as families headed home after the school holidays.

Jetstar and Virgin Australia are still trying to mount extra services to rescue thousands of Aussies stranded in Bali – and to take others to Bali to start their holidays. But the services were grounded yesterday and the chances of them happening today are not looking good.

Indonesia’s Mt Raung volcano, located 150 kilometres from Denpasar Airport on Bali, has blasted a plume of volcanic ash into the atmosphere and whenever the wind changes it can disrupt flight schedules. About 50 domestic and international flights to the airport, including Jetstar and Virgin, were cancelled yesterday, Sunday 12 July.

Although Denpasar Airport is open today, Australian travellers trying to get out of Bali, or others trying to reach it, don’t look like having much luck.

Virgin Australia advised last night it would cancel all flights from Australia to Denpasar (Bali) today, Monday 13 July. Flights from Denpasar to Australia this afternoon and evening are still under review.

For latest updates from Virgin Austraia, click here: http://www.virginaustralia.com/ws/en/bookings/flight-status/travel-alerts/

Jetstar says latest information from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) shows that volcanic ash remains in the vicinity of Denpasar Airport due to unfavourable and unpredictable winds in the region.

“To help get customers moving as soon as possible, we’re planning to put on additional services back to Australia on Monday and Tuesday, and we’ll invite customers to book seats on these flights when available,” the airline said yesterday.

For latest updates from Jetstar, click here.


On Saturday, travellers were told all 36 international carriers and 18 domestic airlines had started flying again in and out of Bali. Virgin Australia and Jetstar were about to mount an airlift to rescue stranded passengers. They resumed flights in and out of Denpasar on Saturday night.

By midday yesterday, however, Virgin Australia and Jetstar had again cancelled flights between Australia and Bali, saying conditions were no longer safe.

All Virgin flights to and from Bali scheduled yesterday (Sunday) were cancelled . Jetstar cancelled all morning flights departing from Bali yesterday.

Some travellers have been told it could take until the end of the month for them to get a flight home, ABC News reported. The continuing changes and lack of information are infuriating exhausted travellers, who are running out of patience and money. At least the weather is warm in Bali  – about 29 or 30 degrees C today.

MEANWHILE, a sudden cold snap dubbed an “Antarctic vortex” slammed into southwest Australia, dropping a blanket of snow across large parts of NSW from the northern tablelands to the Victorian border. While initially good for ski fields, it proved challenging yesterday as hundreds of families headed home after school holidays.

Black ice was reported to be causing accidents yesterday and several roads have been cut today.

Written by Peter Needham

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