The eruption of Sangeang Api in Indonesia's south has
Some flights between Australia and southeast Asia and all
domestic flights operating out of Darwin airport in the
country's north were cancelled after the eruption of Sangeang
Api in Indonesia's south produced a large cloud of ash.
International flights to and from Australia to Singapore,
East Timor and the Indonesian holiday island of Bali were
among those cancelled, including those departing from
Australia's eastern seaboard after an ash cloud from Sangeang
Api's initial eruption on Friday evening tracked across
"The volcano is undergoing a sustained, rather significant
eruption at the moment, so for the last 10 hours we've been
observing large masses of volcanic ash being generated,"
Emile Jansons, manager of the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory
Centre told Reuters.
"At the moment it has slowed down a little bit since its
initial big eruption, but nobody has a very good handle on
what this volcano is likely to do in the next 24 hours or
beyond," Jansons said, adding that the last eruption of
Sangeang Api of this magnitude occurred in 1999.
Based on weather conditions, the current ash cloud tracking
across Australia is likely to dissipate before it reaches
Australia's eastern airports and major populations centres,
Darwin will continue to be impacted until at least Sunday, he
All flights into and out of Darwin International Airport were
cancelled, spokeswoman Virginia Sanders confirmed.
Darwin's proximity to southeast Asia makes it an important
Australian gateway to countries such as Indonesia and East
Timor and an important hub for oil and natural gas off
Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft and cause
engine failure or engine damage.
Qantas Airways Ltd said it had cancelled all flights to and
from Darwin on Saturday and its budget unit Jetstar had
grounded nine international and domestic flights.
Virgin Australia Holdings cancelled all flights into and out
of Darwin and all flights into and out of Bali on Saturday
evening, spokeswoman Jacqui Abbott confirmed.
"Our team of meteorologists are continuing to monitor the
situation, in consultation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory
Centre," the airline said in a statement.
Regional carrier Airnorth, which flies many oil and gas
workers to work in the region, also cancelled five flights on
Saturday and a Tiger Airways Ltd domestic flight was also