Two carriers cancel flights to Jakarta

09:42, November 09, 2010      

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Two major Chinese airlines Sunday canceled all flights to Jakarta after new volcanic eruptions from Mount Merapi sent clouds of ash and smoke as high as 6,000 meters.

  Air China, which flies from Beijing to Jakarta three times a week, started canceling flights Sunday due to "bad weather," according to a service representative with the airline.

  "Flights (to Jakarta) may resume normal operations tomorrow, but it is possible more flights could be canceled or delayed if the weather does not improve," she said.

  China Southern also said Sunday that it had been canceling flights to Jakarta since Saturday, and no information was available about when the flights might resume.

  China Southern normally flies from Guangzhou to Jakarta once or twice a day, depending on passenger demand.

  The two Chinese airlines join the ranks of other regional carriers that have also halted flights to Jakarta.

  The list comprises Cathay Pacific, Air Asia, EvaAir, Philippines Airlines, Emirates, Brunei Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

  The volcano, located 430 kilometers (270 miles) east of Jakarta, first started erupting October 26, and a violent blow Friday killed nearly 80 people, incinerating villages up to 18 kilometers away.

  Airlines canceled a total of 50 flights Sunday and 36 flights Saturday, echoing the after-effects of volcanic eruptions seen in Iceland earlier this year, which resulted in thousands of stranded passengers and transportation chaos across Europe.

  Li Xiaojin, a professor with the Civil Aviation University of China, told the Global Times Sunday that the volcano's impact on carriers would be limited, compared with the April eruption.

  The Beijing-based China Youth Travel Service told the Global Times Sunday that the agency's last group to Bali, which passed through Jakarta with 17 tourists, left Saturday. The next group is scheduled to depart this weekend.

  An agency representative, who declined to give her name, said Sunday that no cancellation had been made for the upcoming tour.

  Figures from the Bali Tourism Bureau show that 2.3 million tourists visited last year, and China supplied the third-most.

  A Soekarno-Hatta International Airport spokesman, named Sudaryanto, said the Jakarta airport handles around 900 flights per day, and it remained open Sunday, according to AFP.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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