Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Transportation stated that operations at Abdulrachman Saleh Airport in Malang District, East Java, were temporarily closed due to Mount Semeru's volcanic ash detected in the vicinity.

The observation was carried out on a paper test on Friday from 8:00 to 8:20 local time.

The temporary suspension of operations at this airport was announced via Notice to Airmen (Notam) with Number C0079/24 NOTAMC C0063/24 starting at 10:00 local time.

"We had to temporarily stop the operations for safety reasons. The spread of volcanic ash could be dangerous and stop (the functioning of) aircraft engines," the ministry's Director General of Civil Aviation, M. Kristi Endah Murni, noted in a statement released by her office.

Murni remarked that through the Surabaya Region III Airport Authority, the ministry would continue to monitor and address current developments in the situation in the form of field observations conducted every 30 minutes to an hour at several locations around the airport.

She also called on airlines to provide compensation to passengers, including the option of a full refund, reschedule, or re-route to the nearest airport if seats are still available.

Such efforts are expected to help passengers affected by the temporary closure, she added.

Regarding handling volcanic eruptions and the impact of volcanic ash on aviation safety operations, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued Circular Letter Number 15 of 2019 concerning the Implementation of Flights in Force Majeure Conditions.

This was followed by Decree of the Director General of Civil Aviation Number KP 153 of 2019 concerning Procedures for Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) for Handling the Impact of Volcanic Ash on Flight Operations through Integrated Web-Based Aeronautical Information System Handling (I-WISH).

Thus, handling of the force majeure event of the eruption of Mount Semeru refers to these two letters as implementation guidelines.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and (conduct) coordination with relevant stakeholders in handling this force majeure (event) to take necessary steps for flight safety, security, and comfort," Murni said.

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Translator: Benardy Ferdiansyah, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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