OPERATIONS at both Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali and Lombok International Airport are back to normal after reopening last Sunday and Saturday respectively.
However, as eruptions at Mount Raung are still ongoing, the Indonesian trasnportation authority said there is still possiblity for the airports to close again if the winds blow volcanic ashes towards the airport.
I Ketut Ardana, chairman of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA) Bali Chapter said: “It is a force majeur and the industry here is hand in hand in helping the guests as much as we can. Most airlines are helping with waiving cancellaton fees and some are giving accommodation for those who could not enter Bali.”
“We learnt of some problems with stranded passengers who did not have extra funds for extending their stay in hotels.”
Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association Bali Chapter, had issued a circular letter to the industry, including travel companies, to waive the overstay charges for stranded passengers.
“Unfortunately, we had received the notice a bit late and some clients had been charged,” Ardana said.
Nina Zen, regional director of sales and marketing, Swiss-Belhotel International said the over supply of rooms in Bali helped.
Giving an example of her hotel in Seminyak: “We are running 65-68 per cent occupancy in our hotel in Seminyak, so we can still accommodate those who are stranded while still having rooms for the ones coming.”
In the mean time, Global Travel Media reported Jetstar and Virgin Australia were operating bigger aircraft and adding extra flights to rescue thousands of passengers today. Virgin is expected to fly about 2,000 passengers from Bali while Jetstar plans to operate 18 flights in and out of Bali, which includes 10 additional services.