Eight flights from Batam to Java cancelled Saturday

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - Eight flights from the Batam airport to four destinations in Java were cancelled on Saturday because the destination airports have not yet resumed operations after Mount Kelud erupted on Thursday night.

"Yesterday, seven flights were cancelled. Today, eight flights to Yogyakarta, Semarang, Surabaya and Bandung were cancelled," said Suwarso, the general affairs department of Batam Hang Nadim International airports, said here on Saturday.

The cancelled flights usually cover the Batam-Surabaya route four times since there are two flights operated by Lion Air and another two by Citilink, he said.

Other cancellations involved the Lion Air flights from Batam to Yogyakarta twice a day, the Lion Air flight from Batam to Semarang once a day and the Lion Air flight from Batam to Bandung and Surabaya, also once a day.

"The airlines have decided to cancel all the flights because the destination airports are not yet open. Airlines authorities are still awaiting confirmation about flight safety," Suwarso stated.

Meanwhile, head of Data and Information Center of National Disaster Mitigation Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement on Saturday that seven airports and one airstrip remain closed on Saturday, as of 10:00 am local time (GMT +7), due to volcanic ash from Mount Kelud in East Java.

The seven closed airports were Juanda (Surabaya), Adi Sumarmo (Solo), Adi Sucipto (Yogyakarta) Abdulrahman Saleh (Malang), Ahmad Yani (Semarang), Husein Sastranegara (Bandung) and the Tunggul Wulung airstrip in Cilacap.

"The runway at the Iswahyudi Airport of Madiun is also closed," Nugroho said.

The airports are still being cleaned following the downpour of volcanic ash.

Nugroho said the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, based in Washington, USA, reported that volcanic ash from Mount Kelud has blown clear of Java and Sumatra air space and reached the Indian Ocean towards the west of Sumatra Island.

"The VAAC has recommended all airplanes not to travel through that area," Nugroho said.

Meanwhile, at 06:00 am Saturday morning, Mount Kelud spewed a plume of white smoke, rising to a height of 3,000 meters.

The eruption of Mt Kelud on Thursday, Feb. 13, forced some 200 thousand people to flee, and resulted in closures of airports and schools in several cities in Indonesia's most densely populated island of Java.

Reporting by Larno

(B003/INE/H-YH)

Edited by INE.

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