Bali volcano eruption halts some flights

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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Several flights were cancelled or rescheduled on Thursday when a volcano erupted on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, sending a column of ash and smoke at least 2 km into the air, officials said.

Bali airport was operating normally, but some airlines said they had cancelled flights to and from the island known for its beaches and temples.

"The eruption of Mount Agung today has impacted several of our flights to and from Bali," budget carrier AirAsia said in a statement, adding at least 27 flights had been cancelled or rescheduled.

Jetstar and Virgin Australia also cancelled flights, according to media. Hundreds of passengers were expected to be affected.

Mount Aging, an active volcano in northeastern Bali, has been puffing since late last year. In December, minor explosive eruptions closed the airport.

Airlines avoid flying through volcanic ash as it can damage aircraft engines, clog fuel and cooling systems and hamper visibility.

(Reporting by Cindy Silviana; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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