Jetstar Turns Back 4 Planes Due to Volcanic Ash Cloud over Bali

11th Nov 2015

A total of four aircraft that Jetstar sent on Tuesday in order to bring back Australian tourists stranded in Bali were forced to turn back because of a heavy volcanic ash cloud that hovers over Denpasar airport.

Jetstar said the following in a statement regarding the failed mission:

"Unfortunately conditions around Denpasar Airport are currently not safe to operate so we have had to turn four aircraft around which were on their way to Bali to bring customers back to Australia. As a result, all flights from Bali today have now been canceled, including scheduled and recovery services. All flights from Australia today remain cancelled."

Earlier last week, both Jetstar and Virgin, the only two Australian carrier that operate direct flights to Bali cancelled service to and from this Indonesian island due to volcanic ash clouds from nearby Mount Rinjani. This was the second time in a few months that they did this, the first being when Mount Raung erupted in July.

The airlines intended to mount a number of flights in order to return stranded travelers to Australia yesterday, as forecast suggested that the cloud would clear somewhat.

However, due to Mount Rinjani continuing to erupt, Virgin Australia has cancelled all service in and out of Bali, while Jetstar also reduced its service.

On Tuesday, Jetstar confirmed that all previously scheduled services to and from the island on Wednesday are now cancelled.

A statement from Jetstar said:

"While we're hopeful the conditions will be safe for us to operate tomorrow [Wednesday], experience over the past week shows the ash cloud position can change quickly. If conditions once again deteriorate and we have to cancel flights we'll provide an update as soon as we can."

Virgin Australia also cancelled all flights to Denpasar on Wednesday, saying it was following advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and its own meteorologists and senior pilots.

The operator said in a statement:

"As Mt Rinjani continues to erupt and flying conditions remain unpredictable in the days to come, our priority is to bring guests home from Bali, rather than fly more guests in who could potentially be delayed returning home due to ongoing eruptions."

Both airlines have offered travellers who have booked a ticket to Bali and have not yet departed Australia the option to travel to another destination at no extra charge.