by Alice Monroe
Vast towering ash clouds from an Indonesian volcano have led to numerous flight cancellations in Australia
Many flights in and out of Australia, Singapore, East Timor and the Indonesian holiday island of Bali were cancelled over the weekend due to volcanic ash clouds emanating from an Indonesian volcano.
Indonesia's Sangeang Api volcano has been on continuous eruption since Friday, throwing ashes more than 12 miles into the sky. It is part of Indonesia's notorious "Ring of Fire" - an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It has 452 volcanoes - 75 per cent of the world's total.
Current weather patterns have caused the ash cloud to drift over Australia's Northern Territory coast line, forcing all flights in and out of Darwin airport to be cancelled.
Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft and cause engine failure or engine damage.
Virgin Australia released a travel alert saying they will recommence normal operations as soon as the volcanic ash safely allows it. "Our team of meteorologists are continuing to monitor the situation, in consultation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin," the alert said.
Qantas says they were closely monitoring weather conditions and would release updates as they become available.
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss warned that flights across Australia could be affected for days. "Depending on wind and other weather conditions, the ash has the potential to affect flights to and from other airports, including Brisbane, during coming days," he said. "This is currently being fully assessed."