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More than 400 flights cancelled as volcano forces Bali shutdown

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Mount Agung volcano in Bali erupted on Thursday forcing airports to shut down temporarily at Bali International Airport.

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Indonesian authorities shut Bali’s international airport for a second time in seven months as a fresh eruption Thursday at Mount Agung near the popular tourist island sent volcanic ashes several miles high into the sky.

Domestic airports at Banyuwangi and Jember were also closed, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said on Twitter. The shutdowns will lead to cancellation of 446 flights, including 207 international flights, affecting an estimated 74,928 passengers, he said.

Mount Agung volcano continued to belch ash and smoke after ash clouds rose as high as 16,454 feet (5,142m) above sea level, according to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. The airport at Bali, the biggest tourist destination in Indonesia, was shut down for more than a day in November, leading to losses of about $1 billion for the tourism industry.

The airports, which were shut from 3 a.m. local time will remain closed at least until 9 p.m., PT Angkasa Pura, the state-run airport operator said in a statement.

Qantas Airways Ltd., Singapore Airlines Ltd., AirAsia Bhd. and PT Garuda Indonesia is among the airlines operating flights to Bali, which draws an estimated 5 million tourists annually.

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