Bali airport volcano eruption
Passengers wait for information on delayed and cancelled flights at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty

A volcano eruption caused hundreds of flight cancellations in Indonesia's resort island of Bali, stranding thousands of holidaymakers. Bali Ngurah Rai Airport was shut down after Mount Rinjani on the nearby Lombok Island, started shooting ash and debris into the sky on 4 November.

Selaparang Airport in Lombok's main city of Mataram, and Blimbingsari Airport in eastern Java were also closed, resulting in almost 700 flight cancellations across the three islands. Hundreds of passengers were left waiting for information at Bali's airport as the situation developed.

Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Cathay Pacific were among a number of airlines affected, as disruption was expected to continue into 5 November.

Jetstar said: "Following the latest update from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), our team of experts has decided to cancel flights to and from Bali tomorrow (Thursday) scheduled to depart before 5pm (AEDT). We will make an assessment on the remaining Thursday flights as soon as possible. "

"While we regret the frustration these cancellations will cause, the safety of our customers and crew is always our first priority", the airline added.

Virgin Australia said: "Due to the volcanic eruption at Mt Rinjani near Denpasar (Bali), our team of meteorologists and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre have advised that conditions in the vicinity of Denpasar Airport have deteriorated and remain unsafe for flying.

"The Denpasar Aerodrome is currently closed with no flights operating in or out. We have been advised that it will remain that way until 11.45am AEDT tomorrow, Thursday 5 November. As a result, Virgin Australia is cancelling all flights due to depart Australia and Denpasar (Bali) before 6pm AEDT tomorrow, Thursday 5 November."

All airlines were told to avoid flying in proximity of the volcano that blasted ash up to 3,500m (11,480 feet) into the air, blanketing villages on the island.