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Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Sarawak, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during the ‘Majlis Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri’ event held at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) here today. Photo TVS

Flight cancellations due to safety concerns – Karim

ByLorenzo Isaac Ak Anthony

KUCHING, Apr 18: Cancellations of flights to and from Borneo are essential for the safety of flight crews and passengers following the eruption of Mount Ruang in Indonesia.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Sarawak, Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said that this is a precautionary step taken by airline operators.

“I believe this will be temporary as we must wait for dust and debris from the volcanic eruption to clear before it is safe for aircraft to fly.

“Although flight cancellations may inconvenience passengers, it is necessary for their safety,” he said to reporters during the ‘Majlis Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri’ event held at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) here today.

Abdul Karim, who is also the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development, expressed his shock at the volcanic eruption’s proximity to Borneo.

“I was quite surprised to see something like this happening not very far from Borneo because it is unexpected,” he remarked.

Mount Ruang is a stratovolcano located on an island in North Sulawesi Province, which reportedly erupted multiple times on Tuesday (Apr 16) and yesterday (Apr 17).

Authorities raised the alert level to its highest point after the dome spewed a column of smoke more than 1.6 kilometers into the sky, leading to hundreds of evacuations.

Malaysia Airlines cancelled 19 flights today, and the airline is working to accommodate affected passengers on alternative flights as the situation improves.

Passengers traveling on Malaysia Airlines are urged to update their contact details via My Booking on the website to receive timely updates via email and SMS.

Meanwhile, AirAsia has cancelled 16 flights today, and the airline is allowing passengers to make a one-time change to any new travel date within 30 days from the original departure date on the same route without additional costs, subject to seat availability.

AirAsia is also allowing affected passengers to retain the value of the flight booking in a credit account for future travel with the airline, to be redeemed within two years from the issuance date. – TVS

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