Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - State-owned operator, PT Angkasa Pura I, of Sam Ratulangi Airport, Manado, is focusing on flight safety maintenance due to the impact of volcanic ash from the Mount Ruang eruption in Sitaro Islands District, North Sulawesi.

"We are only focused on maintaining flight safety. Of course, there will be some losses," General Manager of Sam Ratulangi Airport, Maya Damayanti, stated on Monday.

According to Damayanti, aviation safety is of utmost importance. Thus, the airport has been closed due to volcanic ash from Mount Ruang since April 18.

"Every day, we clean the runway, taxiway, and apron from volcanic ash," she added.

Her side also carried out paper tests every hour to check the volcanic ash at the airport's runaway.

Since its closure on April 18, the management decided to extend the closure until this Monday.

"The decision to close the airport is taken with other related stakeholders through joint meetings," she stated.

Coordination meetings are always attended by the Region VIII of the Airport Authority Office (Otban 8), the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Airnav, as well as airlines, namely Garuda and Lion Group.

As of Sunday, the airport closure had affected 150 flights, with a total of 19,085 passengers. This number is projected to increase along with the continuation of the closure until Monday afternoon, Damayanti remarked.

During the April 1-21 period, 10 eruptions were recorded on Mount Ruang, starting on April 16 at 13:37 local time.

A major eruption was recorded on April 17 at 20:15 local time, which was a continuous eruption accompanied by roaring sounds and vibrations that were felt at the monitoring post in Tulusan Village, Tagulandang Sub-district.

During that time, explosive eruptions were observed along with the ejection of incandescent material accompanied by hot clouds.

Related news: Mt Ruang Task Force continues evacuating residents in dangerous area
Related news: Tsunami warning lifted after volcanic activity of Mt. Ruang decreases

Translator: Nancy Lynda Tigauw, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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