Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Transportation Ministry instructed to temporarily close the Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, West Sumatra, as a mitigation step due to Mount Marapi's volcanic ash.

The ministry's Director General of Air Transportation, M. Kristi Endah Murni, stated here on Friday that the decision to close the airport was taken by considering the flight safety.

"Based on the report, the volcanic ash has impacted 29 flights. As a result, one flight must return to the origin airport or base and another must divert its landing to another airport," Murni said.

She explained that the Minangkabau International Airport's closure on Friday was announced through a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) with No. B0030/24 NOTAMN starting at 10:45 a.m. local time until further notice.

The notice stated that the closure was for safety reasons due to the spread of volcanic ash that can endanger flights and cause aircraft engine failure.

In addition, the Transportation Ministry, through the Airport Authority Region VI Padang, will continue to monitor and observe field development at a time interval of every 30 minutes to an hour at several points around the airport.

With the force majeure, Murni called on airlines to compensate prospective passengers with full refunds, reschedule, or offer re-route options to the nearest airport if seats are still available.

According to Murni, the compensation from airlines is expected to help passengers affected by the airport closure.

Murni remarked that her side understands that this airport closure could cause inconvenience to passengers, but the safety of all people remains a top priority.

"We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all parties involved in this situation, and hopefully, conditions at Minangkabau Airport will quickly return to normal," she stated.

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Translator: Adimas P, Kenzu
Editor: Arie Novarina
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