The Jakarta Post
I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, is temporarily suspending all international and domestic flights for 24 hours on March 7 to coincide with Nyepi (Day of Silence), which is a public holiday.
The airport management has said all flights will be halted from 6 a.m. Central Indonesia Time (WIT) on Thursday, March 7, to 6 a.m. on Friday, March 8, when it will resume operations.
"During Nyepi, the airport will halt all flight operations to respect Hindus in Bali, so they can observe Nyepi solemnly," Ngurah Rai airport general manager Yanus Suprayogi said Thursday.
Ngurah Rai airport is the only commercial airport in the predominantly Hindu province of Bali. The closure is based on a circular dated Sept.1, 1999 on Ngurah Rai airport’s flight operations during Nyepi, which was issued by the Transportation Ministry’s air transportation directorate general.
Balinese Hindus typically observe the religious holiday with fasting and meditation. They also refrain from using electricity, electronics or fire, traveling outside the home and all forms of entertainment on the day.
Foreign visitors to the island are generally expected to respect the religious observance.
The closure will affect 468 flights, comprising 261 domestic flights and 207 international flights. Garuda Indonesia will be the most affected with 94 flights, followed by Lion Air with 67 flights and AirAsia with 52 flights.
Domestic routes to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will be the most affected with 52 flights, followed by Surabaya airport with 16 flights and Lombok airport with 10 flights.
International routes to Singapore will be the most affected with 18 flights, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 16 flights and Perth with nine flights.
"Announcements on the airport closure have been distributed to all airlines and airports around the world," he said, adding that all airlines had adjusted their operations by not selling tickets for March 7.
While flight operations would be halted for both commercial and charter planes, the airport and other stakeholders would still have staff on call for emergencies, such as emergency landings and medical evacuations.
"During Nyepi, we will have 369 personnel on standby at the airport. Besides this, 30 police officers and 35 military personnel will be deployed to guard the airport," he said. (swd)