Air passengers to the island of Phuket face delays and cancellations because of the earthquake that caused the local airport to close (Reuters)

UK travellers to Thailand face flight cancellations as an earthquake near the Asian country forces one of its main airports to close.

Phuket International Airport is temporarily closed when a tsunami warning was issued following a huge 8.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast of nearby Indonesia.

The warning has now been lifted.

Thai Airways has postponed all flights to Phuket from the Thai capital Bangkok.

It may also leave homeward-bound tourists on the island of Phuket stuck.

"Thai will return to normal operations once tsunami warning has been lifted and Airport Authority has reopened the airport," said a statement from the operator's president Piyasvasti Amranand.

Other affected airlines include Qantas Airways, Malaysia Airline, and Airasia.

Those travelling to Thailand from UK airports face delays and cancellations and are being urged to contact their airline before travelling.

"Flight to Phuket cancelled. Friends in Phuket have been told that fleeing to the mountains isn't necessary. I hope they're right," tweeted one stranded traveller.