Mount Merapi ash cloud leads to cancellation of flights to Jakarta

Mount Merapi volcano lies 431 km from Jakarta. But the continuing eruptions over the last two weeks have pumped sufficient ash sufficiently high into the atmosphere that flights to Jakarta are beginning to be cancelled. Flights to Yogyakarta, the nearest large airport to Mount Merapi, were suspended a few days ago.

The Guardian reports:

Several airlines have suspended flights into¬†Indonesia’s capital Jakarta after Mount Merapi’s worst eruption in a century spewed volcanic ash up to five miles (8km) into the air.

The move came as number of people killed by Mount Merapi in the last two weeks climbed to 138 after the volcano unleashed a surge of searing gas yesterday that torched houses and trees and incinerated villagers.

Officials at Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and AirAsia fear the ash is a safety threat and could damage aircraft.

“The volcanic ash presence in the airways surrounding Jakarta could cause severe damage to our aircraft and engines which could impair the safety of our operations including passengers and crew,” said Azharuddin Osman, director of operations for Malaysia Airlines.


mt merapi erupting

Lightning strikes as Mount Merapi volcano erupted today, spewing out towering clouds of hot gas and debris, as seen from Ketep village in Magelang, Indonesia's Central Java province. Photograph: Beawiharta/Reuters



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