Indonesia airports, flights and volcanic ash
Ash and smoke are emitted from the volcano Mount Raung seen from the village of Sumber Arum, near Banyuwangi, East Java province, Indonesia Antara Photo Agency via Reuters

Indonesia which has the world's largest Muslim population, was forced to close five airports due to ash spewing from several volcanoes leaving thousands of passengers heading home for the Eid holidays stranded.

The international airport in the country's second biggest city in Surabaya and four smaller airports were closed by the eruption of Mount Raung on the main island of Java, the transport ministry said.

The airport on the remote, eastern island of Ternate was shut due to ash drifting from Mount Gamalama, which was also erupting, the statement added.

Indonesia flag carrier Garuda said it had cancelled more than 48 flights to and from Surabaya while budget airline Air Asia Indonesia said it had cancelled all flights from the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya from 1.20pm to 7.20 pm local time Thursday.

The ministry has said that the airport at Surabaya and two others would remain closed until early Friday while those at Jember and Banuywangi on Java, close to Mount Raung will not be operational until later.

The closure of the airports came just days after the popular resort island of Bali saw its airport closed due to Mount Raung, stranding thousands of foreign tourists. Bali airport resumed operations on Thursday, AFP reported.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that Mount Raung was hurling thick smoke up to 2,000 meters into the air on Thursday, which was drifting west. He said it was not yet necessary to evacuate people living in the area.

Indonesia is home to 130 active volcanoes.

Volcanic ash can damage aircraft as it turns into molten glass when sucked into plane engines, according to experts.