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Indonesia: Lombok Airport reopened as flight alert lowered Dec. 1 /update 19

Lombok International Airport (LOP) reopens December 1 as volcano flight alert lowered; intensified volcanic eruptions still expected in the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/1/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/10/2017, 11:59 PM (Asia/Jakarta). COUNTRY/REGION Bali, Lombok

Event

Lombok International Airport (LOP) reopened on Friday, December 1, after winds over neighboring Bali shifted the volcanic ash cloud from erupting Mount Agung away from the airport. LOP reopened around 08:50 (local time) on Friday, according to Angkasa Pura, the state-owned Indonesian airport operating entity. Additionally, Indonesian authorities reduced its flight alert level from red - the highest level - to orange on Friday due to the wind direction change. Some flight disruptions, however, are expected at Bali's Denpasar-Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) on Friday, as forecasts suggest that volcanic ash could obstruct flight operations on Friday evening.

While the volcano appeared to be belching less ash and smoke on Thursday, November 30, experts urged caution and have warned a major eruption could happen at any moment. Intensified volcanic eruptions are expected in the coming days, as well as transportation disruptions in affected areas. Officials from Indonesia's National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) have urged individuals within the 10 km (6.2 mi) exclusion zone around the volcano to evacuate the area as a precaution. At least 150,000 people have already been evacuated from the area. On Thursday, Bali authorities extended the state of emergency through December 10, in anticipation of a major eruption of Mount Agung likely in the coming days. The highest volcano alert level remains in place for Mount Agung.

Context

Bali's Denpasar-Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) reopened at 15:00 (local time) on Wednesday, November 29, following a change in the prevailing wind that is pushing ash clouds from the eruption away from DPS airspace. Flight operations started normalizing on November 29, with more than 4500 stranded passengers flown out. Nearby Lombok International Airport (LOP), however, had closed again on Thursday after ash and smoke drifted in its direction.

Bali's Mount Agung volcano has erupted several times over the past few days. The BNPB raised the volcano alert level for Mount Agung from 3 to 4 - the highest level - on November 27 due to the risk of a large eruption. The BNPB initially reported on November 21 that Mount Agung had entered an eruptive phase. A state of emergency has been in effect since September 19.

Mount Agung's last major eruption occurred in 1963 and resulted in the deaths of around 1500 people.

Advice

Individuals present in affected areas are advised to monitor the situation and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). Potentially impacted travelers are advised to confirm flight reservations.

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