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Aviation alert, Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki's activity prompts closure of Frans Seda Airport

Jakarta Globe - January 2, 2024

Whisnu Bagus Prasetyo, Kupang – Frans Seda Maumere Airport in Sikka Regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), has been temporarily closed for flights to and from Maumere since Monday due to the eruption of Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki in East Flores.

"The BMKG's (Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency) observations still detect volcanic ash in the airspace. Therefore, we are extending the temporary closure today," said the Head of the Airport Operator Unit, Partahian Panjaitan, in Maumere, as quoted by Antara news agency on Tuesday.

Located 600 kilometers away from the renowned tourist destination Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Mount Lewotobi Laki-laki erupted on Jan. 1, 2024. The local authorities raised its status from level II or alert to level III or standby.

As a result of the eruption, Frans Seda Maumere Airport's operational services have been suspended since Monday, as the presence of volcanic ash on the runway was confirmed through conducted paper tests.

Partahian Panjaitan said that if volcanic ash hits the aircraft engine, it can be fatal and impact safety. "Flight safety is the most important thing, so we decided to close it temporarily," he said.

He mentioned that the indication of volcanic ash at the airport and the temporary closure had been reported to the Airport Authority of Region IV Bali. His team continues to conduct paper tests every hour to determine the condition on the runway.

BMKG information is published periodically, becoming the basis for the opening or closing of flight services at the airport.

"The most important thing is the result from BMKG because volcanic ash may not fall but moves above," he said.

He stated that the airport would be reopened when it is no longer affected by volcanic ash.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/aviation-alert-mount-lewotobi-lakilakis-activity-prompts-closure-of-frans-seda-airpor