"We have conducted a meeting this morning and decided to suspend the airport’s operation for safety reasons," Herson, the head of the airports authority for Bali and East Nusa Tenggara, told reporters on Monday.
"We have received reports from pilots that volcanic ash has reached the area above the airport. We conducted an observation and found that that is true, so we decided to close the airport," he further specified.
The facility will be out of operation at least until Tuesday morning; the authorities will assess the situation every six hours, the official said.
Meanwhile, the alert status of Mount Agung was upgraded from level three to level four (the highest level, red) on Monday morning, prompting the authorities to evacuate around 100,000 people within the 10 kilometer area around the volcano. Volcanologists, however, warned of an imminent larger eruption.
Waspadai banjir lahar hujan (lahar dingin) di sekitar Gunung Agung. Banjir lahar hujan sudah terjadi di beberapa tempat di lereng Gunung Agung. Hujan akan meningkat. Jangan melakukan aktivitas di sekitar sungai. Radius 8-10 km harus kosong dari aktivitas masyarakat. #Bali pic.twitter.com/5vuZ4KTTYa— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) 27 ноября 2017 г.
Beware of lava flooding rain (cold lava) around Mount #Agung Lava flooding rain is already happening in some places on the slopes of Mount Agung Rain will increase Don't do activities around the river. Radius of 8-10 km should be empty of activity of the community. #Bali #lahar https://t.co/9RhslsaMa0— Tasty Curry (@AmIMinty) 27 ноября 2017 г.
The mountain expelled ash clouds as high as 4,000 meters above the crater and residents as far as 12 kilometers away reported low explosive noises and flares, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said in a statement Monday, as cited by Bloomberg.
Tens of thousands of travelers have been affected by the natural disaster and the country's transport ministry has reported that it has prepared 100 buses and ferries to transfer stranded passengers to operating airports on Java and Lombok islands.