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Volcanic ash forces shutdown of airport in eastern Indonesia

Christian Fernsby |
Belching ash and smoke from the volcanic activity of Mount Dukono in North Maluku province of eastern Indonesia forced shutdown of an airport in the province on Monday.

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The Leo Wattimena airport issued a notice to airman (NOTAM) to close the airport which came into force at 11:50 a.m. Jakarta time Monday until 13:00 p.m. Jakarta time on Tuesday, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, a spokesman of affected airline Wing Air said.

The NOTAM statement also provides information about the latest air and weather condition.

As a result, the Wing Air airline must abort its flights serving domestic routes with departures or arrivals at the airport, such as a flight en route to Ternate on Monday, the spokesman said.

"Wing Air has dismay information to its passengers whose journey is disturbed," he said.

Mount Dukono alert status was raised to the third highest level with no-go zone of 200 meters from the crater, according to the country's volcanology agency.

Indonesian aviation authorities have kept a close eye on the volcanic activity of Mount Dukono.

On March 26, the Wing Air airline also cancelled its flight after airport authorities shut the Leo Wattimena airport in case of an eruption.

The 1,259-meter Mount Dukono in Halmahera Utara of the province is among the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic nation home to over 17,500 islands.

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