15 Jul 2015

Arrivals home after ash stranding in Bali

11:12 am on 15 July 2015

New Zealanders who were stranded in Bali for several days by a volcanic ash cloud have started arriving back in Auckland.

Mount Raung emits a column of ash and steam on 12 July 2015.

Mount Raung emits a column of ash and steam on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Thousands of passengers were stranded after Mt Raung started erupting on Java.

An Air New Zealand flight was given the all clear to fly out of Bali yesterday afternoon, after the ash cloud moved away from the main flight path.

The flight with about 200 people on board arrived just after 5am.

Many of the passengers had been due to land on Sunday - but most said they had enjoyed their extended holiday.

Neil, a passenger from Dunedin, said the delay was not a problem.

"We spent it at a very nice resort - eating, sleeping, drinking and swimming, and reading. It was very pleasant but it's still nice to get back."

Another passenger said he had felt his holiday was "a bit short - so actually, when it happened, it was quite good in the end".

Passengers crowd the international terminal at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar waiting for information of flight delays due to volcanic ash.

Passengers crowd the international terminal at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar on Friday. Photo: AFP

Passengers said communication from the national carrier was excellent compared to other airlines.

They said some stranded holidaymakers had been told by other airlines they would have to wait until next month to get home.

Air New Zealand said this morning's service was put on especially to bring back passengers who should have returned at the weekend.

It said another flight due to leave Bali tonight and arrive in Auckland tomorrow morning was a scheduled one.

The airline said there was no backlog because there were normally only two scheduled flights a week.

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