Bali reopens airport after volcano eruption strands thousands of tourists

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Denpasar airport's online flight information board showed Australian airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas had also cancelled flights to and from the island.

Ash from a volcanic eruption forced the closure of the global airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday, as Mount Agung volcano became active again after a lull since late previous year.

The Ngurah Rai airport began operating at 2.30 pm local time (12 pm Indian Standard Time), about 12 hours after it was shut.

"At this stage, scheduled flights this afternoon and this evening are planned to operate subject to any change in conditions".

The cancelled Jetstar flights include routes between Denpasar and Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Cairns.

Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's eruption. Its last major eruption in 1963 killed more than 1,000 people and razed several villages.

Indonesia's second-busiest airport will stay shut until at least 7pm local time on Friday, with 85 worldwide flights and 191 domestic flights cancelled, affecting almost 16,000 people, airport authorities said. A Jetstar flight - co-listed as JQ116 and QF275 - to Singapore via Denpasar was also cancelled.

Scientist and self-proclaimed "volcano adventurer" John Seach, who has spent 32 years covering volcanoes, says few written records exist of Mount Agung due to its "long period of dormancy".

"In the first days of the activity natural disaster shocks were felt after which followed the emission of ash, sand and stones".

Ash cloud Mount Agung produces can pose a threat to aircraft flying in the area. "We hoped that we could leave this morning, but the airport is closed", she said.

Long lines at airport in Bali as flights are cancelled or delayed.

Passengers are advised to check with their airline's website for updates.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position in the highly active ring of fire - a belt of tectonic plate boundaries in the Pacific Ocean which is vulnerable to frequent seismic activity.

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