General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura I BIL Pujiono affirmed that the airport was shut down as volcanic ash from Mount Barujari had blanketed the airport area.
"The airport will still remain closed until Tuesday. Earlier, the airport was also closed for four days due to security reasons as volcanic ash was being spewed from Mount Barujari," he stated here, Monday.
Pujiono pointed out that all airlines would have to cancel their flights following the airports closure. Even Garuda Indonesia Airlines, a state-owned corporation, announced that its flights to Lombok will be cancelled for a while as the airport was still closed.
"Actually, we wanted to restart airport operations as no ash was detected. But, based on careful consideration and evaluation of satellite imagery, we found that the condition is still risky for conducting any flight activities," Pujiono emphasized.
In addition, based on research and monitoring data, the direction of wind also affected the airports closure. The authorities are concerned that the wind will blow the volcanic ash from Mount Barujari, which covers the southern part of Lombok Island.
With the airports closure entering its fourth day, tens of thousands passengers to and from Lombok could not be transported. The authorities have found that around four thousand passengers have not departed from the airport or have arrived on a single day, he reported.
"There is no doubt regarding the losses being incurred, but what we are really concerned about is the safety of the passengers," he stated.
Meanwhile, the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, has been reopened in accordance with Notice to Airmen (Notam) No. A2527/15 issued on Monday (November 9) at 5:45 a.m. local time.
"According to Notam Number A2527/15, WADD/Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar-Bali, has been reopened and has become operational from Monday at 5:45 a.m. local time. The airport was previously closed as it was affected by the volcanic ash being spewed by Mount Barujari," Ministry of Transportations spokesman, J.A. Barata, stated here, Monday.
The Ngurah Rai Airport has been closed since Monday (November 3) but was reopened momentarily on Thursday (November 6) as the volcanic activity had declined.(*)