TIME indonesia

As Bali Flights Resume, Airlines Are Facing a Huge Backlog of Passengers

Travelers wait as flights are cancelled due to the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java, at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, July 12, 2015.
Associated Press Travelers wait as flights are canceled at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, on July 12, 2015, because of the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java province

It will take up to three days to clear a backlog of almost 900 flights

Bali’s main international airport in Denpasar reopened late Sunday afternoon, allowing airlines to begin the mammoth task of clearing a huge backlog of passengers that had been stranded in recent days due to a volcanic-ash cloud that had grounded hundreds of flights.

Mount Raung on East Java began erupting on July 2, sending a massive ash cloud toward the popular resort island of Bali. Flights have been disrupted since Wednesday, and five airports in the region were forced to close, including Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai international airport, which shut on Friday and again on Sunday.

Officials said the ash cloud was drifting away from Bali on Monday, giving airlines a chance to clear a backlog of almost 900 flights — but that would take up to three days, reports Agence France-Presse.

“We are doing this as quickly as possible as the ash could come back anytime,” airport official Yulfiadi told AFP.

On Monday, Indonesian carrier Garuda Airlines told TIME that domestic and international flights to and from the island resort of Bali were scheduled as usual, although there would be delays.

Jetstar announced Monday that it would resume some services between Bali and Australia in the afternoon, and Malaysia’s AirAsia carrier said Sunday that it was resuming several domestic and international flights.

Virgin Australia said its planes, however, would remain grounded throughout Monday following advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Volcanic ash can damage a plane’s engines, and the eruption at Mount Raung has caused travel chaos and left thousands of people stranded in Indonesia and around the region for days. The disruption comes at a particularly busy time in Indonesia as millions of Muslims travel to celebrate ‘Id this week. School holidays during the southern hemisphere winter are also a hugely popular time for Australians to visit Bali.

For residents living in the vicinity of Mount Raung, evacuations have not been deemed necessary, although authorities are urging people to wear face masks, the Associated Press reports. People are also warned not to approach a 2-mile high-danger zone around the volcano.

TIME indonesia

A Volcanic Ash Cloud Has Shut Down Four Indonesian Airports, Stranding Holidaymakers

Ash and smoke are emitted from the volcano Mount Raung seen from the village of Sumber Arum, near Banyuwangi, East Java province, Indonesia on July 4, 2015.
Budi Candra Setya—Antara Photo Agency/Reuters Ash and smoke are emitted from the volcano Mount Raung seen from the village of Sumber Arum, near Banyuwangi, East Java province, Indonesia on July 4, 2015

Mount Raung could continue to erupt for several weeks to come

Plumes of volcanic ash spewing from an active volcano in Indonesia have forced airlines to cancel flights for a third consecutive day to and from the popular island resort of Bali, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

Indonesian authorities also closed Lombok, Jember and Banyuwangi airports, leaving many holidaymakers stranded.

The volcanic Mount Raung lies in East Java province, about 93 miles (150 km) from Bali, and began erupting on July 2. Winds have blown an ash cloud from the volcano close to the airport causing visibility concerns.

The ash cloud, which has traveled about 180 miles (300 km) southeast of the volcano and 3 miles (5 km) up into the air, is expected to clear over the next 24 hours as the wind is forecast to turn.

But Mount Raung could continue to erupt for several weeks to come.

“Volcanoes are very hard to predict but the indication at the moment is this activity could continue into the future,” Steph Bond from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre told ABC.



Australian Man Arrested After Drunken Hijacking Scare

One drunk man shut down a Bali airport for several hours

An Australian man is under arrest Friday after he allegedly caused a hijacking alert on a Virgin Australia flight headed from Brisbane to the Indonesian holiday island of Bali.

A Bali Air Force commander says the 28-year-old man was drunk and started pounding on the cockpit door. Crew members later seized and handcuffed the man, who was identified as Matt Christopher Lockley.

Airport officials said that the Bali airport resumed normal operations later in the day after being shut down for several hours.

TIME Aviation

Unruly Passenger on Flight to Bali Arrested

Virgin Australia says the incident was not a hijacking attempt as previously feared

Indonesian authorities have arrested a passenger who allegedly tried to enter the cockpit during a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali on Friday.

There were earlier fears that the incident was a highjacking attempt, after a representative of the Indonesian Air Force described it as such to a local TV station. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, however, Virgin has denied any such attempt took place.

The passenger was subdued and handcuffed while still on the 737-800 aircraft, and is now in police custody in Bali.

[Sydney Morning Herald]


TIME indonesia

5 Missing Japanese Scuba Divers Found Off Bali

One of the rescued Japanese scuba drivers arrives in Sanur, on the Indonesian island of Bali, on Feb. 17, 2014.
Agung Parameswara—Getty Images One of the rescued Japanese scuba drivers arrives in Sanur, on the Indonesian island of Bali, on Feb. 17, 2014.

A sixth diver has been found dead, and the fate of the seventh remains unknown

Correction appended Feb. 19, 2014; 12:00 a.m. EST

Five of the seven Japanese scuba divers who went missing on Friday have resurfaced alive off the coast of the Indonesian island of Bali.

According to the Guardian, the group drifted through 20 km of open sea, buffeted by wind, rain and powerful currents. Three days later fishermen spotted the survivors clinging atop a coral reef. They were rescued later on Monday and treated for abrasions, severe sunburn and dehydration.

The sixth member of the diving team was found dead on Tuesday, floating off of the southeastern tip of the holiday island. Indonesian rescue workers have yet to determine the whereabouts of the seventh member, according to the BBC.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the number of survivors based on a inaccurate police report that stated that all had been rescued. Officials mistook two of their own staff, waving at a distance, for the two remaining divers. They later amended the number of survivors to five.


TIME indonesia

Should Schapelle Corby Really Be Paid $2.7 Million for an Interview?

Jason Reed / Reuters Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby. with her head covered, sits in the Denpasar Parole Board Office following her release from Kerobokan Prison in Bali on Feb. 10, 2014

A convicted Australian drug smuggler has been released on parole from a Balinese prison to lavish appearance fees and luxury villa accommodation. The locals aren't impressed

Australia has always had a soft spot for villains. From war criminal Breaker Morant to bushranger Ned Kelly, to hit man Mark “Chopper” Read, the nation has a penchant for casting aside inconvenient historical facts and elevating its most notable killers and thieves into folk heroes a la Robin Hood.

The newest addition to this pantheon of larrikin lawbreakers is 36-year-old Schapelle Corby. A former beauty-school student from Queensland’s Gold Coast, Corby hit the spotlight in October 2004 when she was arrested by Indonesian custom officials attempting to smuggle 4.2 kg of high-quality hydroponic cannabis into the holiday island of Bali.

Since that moment, debate has raged in Australia over the relentless claims that Corby was the innocent, unintended victim of corrupt baggage handlers. Much has also been said over the severity of her sentence handed down in 2005 — 20 years in a filthy, cockroach-infested prison. Then there’s the colorful sideshow surrounding Corby’s paparazzo-punching sister Mercedes. In 2008, she successfully sued a tabloid-style current-affair show for implying she was a drug dealer. She also stripped for a men’s magazine.

The Corby bandwagon reached fever pitch on Monday when Schapelle was released on parole, after serving nine years, in an anarchic scene reminiscent of the media circus that plagues a Miley Cyrus or Harry Styles. Protected by dozens of Indonesian police officers, with her face concealed behind a shawl, Corby was forced to run a raucous gauntlet of paparazzi outside Bali’s Kerobokan Prison who then pursued her on motorbikes as she was driven to a corrections office to sign her release papers.

(MORE: Frenemies: The Indonesian-Australian Relationship Nears Its Nadir)

Corby will reportedly collect a $2.7 million fee for a forthcoming interview with an Australian TV station that has put her up in a private villa in the upscale beach town of Seminyak. The first clear (and obviously stage-managed) photograph of Corby drinking a beer inside the villa was sold to Woman’s Day on Tuesday for a cool $18,000.

This follows a never-ending conga line of magazine articles, an autobiography that sold 100,000 copies, a second book by an investigative journalist that claims Corby took the fall for her late father who had a history with drugs, and a half-baked telemovie that aired nationally in Australia the night before her release.

Yet the question begs: Why has Corby attracted so much sympathy at home, while fellow Australian drug smugglers serving protracted sentences overseas — including members of the heroin-smuggling gang known as the Bali Nine, two of whom are awaiting execution in Bali — remain virtually unknown?

Sydney-based celebrity reporter Josie Gagliano says Corby’s girl-next-door good looks and white-picket demographic have played a crucial role in her stardom. “She’s a young, attractive, free-spirited woman with the world at her feet — an everyday person that could have been any of us or our daughter or sister who suddenly ends up in jail overseas,” Gagliano says.

Andrew Hughes, an academic who researches emotional responses to marketing at the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics, says Corby’s fame lies in the uncertainty of her guilt. “She is one of those polarizing figures where one camp is convinced she’s innocent and the other thinks she’s guilty as all hell,” he says. “She’s like the white-collar criminals on The Wolf of Wall Street. We know what they’re doing is wrong, but we can’t stop watching.”

(MORE: Australia and Indonesia Find It Hard to Make Up)

Meanwhile in Indonesia, where Corby is viewed as a common criminal, her release has received only negative attention.

“The general Indonesian community don’t care, they don’t even know who she is,” says Ross Taylor, president of the Perth-based think tank the Indonesia Institute. “They’re far more concerned with volcanoes erupting and forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes. When this story has gained a mention, it’s been over concern Westerners are getting favorable treatment in the Indonesian legal system compared to young Indonesian drug traffickers serving life sentences.”

For time being, Corby would be advised to keep a lower profile. Kerobokan Prison governor Farid Junaedi has already warned that it would be “stupid” for Corby to give interviews while on parole. A local backlash is also building over the extravagance of her fee and the luxurious nature of her postprison accommodation. Many on the island believe she should be living at the home of her Balinese brother-in-law, who is her parole guarantor.

Corby must remain in Bali for another three years as a condition of her parole. If and when she does go home, she could be pursued by the Australian government under laws that prevent its citizens from profiting from crimes. But that won’t stop the continuation of Australia’s decadelong obsession with a beauty-school dropout who took a terribly wrong turn on the road while holidaying overseas.

“Interest in Corby may wane a little, but we’re still going to want to learn about her parole interviews, about her boyfriends and whatever else she’s doing,” says Gagliano. “And in 2017 when she’s free to leave Bali, then a whole new frenzy will start again. Corby is going to command more and more attention.”

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