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Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts again

Indonesia shuts down Bali airport as Agung volcano erupts again

Indonesian authorities shut Bali's worldwide airport for a second time in seven months as a fresh eruption Thursday at Mount Agung near the popular tourist island sent volcanic ashes several miles high into the sky.

The airport closure affected about 75,000 passengers internationally and resulted in almost 450 flights cancelled, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The holiday plans of thousands of Aussies have been thrown into chaos, with Bali's Mount Agung volcano forcing the closure of the island's worldwide airport.

Most travel insurance policies for Bali have excluded any volcano-related incidents since it began erupting past year, as it is considered a known risk.

Denpasar has been shut after it was reported that the volcano was spewing out ash and flames.

The major reason for cancelling the flights during a volcanic eruption is that it can damage engines, clog fuel and can even hamper visibility.

Several flights were canceled or rescheduled on Thursday when a volcano erupted on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, sending a column of ash and smoke at least 2 km into the air, officials said.

The regional Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Darwin, Australia, said winds would carry the ash southwest toward Java, Indonesia's most densely populated island.

Domestic airports at Banyuwangi and Jember were also closed, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said on Twitter.

No other airlines have cancelled flights yet.

Mount Agung rumbled back to life past year and has been erupting periodically since.

Jetstar scrapped its flights from Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane this morning to the tourist hotspot due to renewed activity at the volcano.

The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled. Those missed flights have been re-booked to leave tomorrow morning.

Indonesia is the world's most active volcanic region and lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities.

"We will try our best to find a solution so all visitors can continue their trip", Made Mangku Pastika said.

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