The West

Volcanic ash causing flight chaos
Volcanic ash causing flight chaos

Virgin Australia has cancelled flights between Perth and Bali as a massive ash cloud from an Indonesian volcano spreads across northern Australia.

A flight scheduled to leave Denpasar at 6.30pm tonight was cancelled along with the 7.30pm flight from Perth.

They are the first Perth international flights to be impacted by the ash cloud but authorities warn more cancellations could follow.

Earlier today Kununurra and Darwin airports were closed as ash reached northern Australia.

Flights could be affected for days as a vast amounts of ash spews from the Indonesian volcano, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says.

Sangeang Api, a volcano off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, has erupted at least three times since Friday afternoon.

The cloud has reached the Kimberley coast and all flights in and out of Kununurra Airport have been cancelled today.

The eruption captured from the air. Picture: Twitter

A spokeswoman for Perth Airport said the cancellations included Qantas flight QF792 to Darwin and Airnorth flight TL341 to Kununurra. Six other flights in and out of the airport were also cancelled.

A Jetstar flight from Adelaide to Denpasar that went via Darwin was cancelled today but other international services remained unaffected, although authorities say that could change.

Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre manager at the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, Emile Jansons, said ash and sulfur dioxide were currently drifting over the Kimberley.

He said while Bali was only 350km to the east of the volcano, winds were blowing the ash away from the popular tourist island.

“We can clearly see on the satellite imagery that there’s ash over the Kimberley at the moment and there’s strong sulphur dioxide levels over the top end,” he said.

“Whereas we can clearly see there’s no ash or sulphur dioxide heading over Bali or Denpasar.”

The eruption from space. Picture: NASA Worldview

Mr Jansons said the ash posed no threat to people in the Kimberley.

“Most of the ash is up above 10km, so there’s really no concern to people on the ground,” he said.

“We’re not expecting any ash fall whatsoever and you aren’t really likely to see anything unusual. A bit of haze is all you’d expect.”

Flights to and from Darwin International Airport have been cancelled on Saturday as the ash cloud spreads across the Top End and towards Alice Springs.

The West Australian

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