An Erupting Volcano Has Shut Down A Huge Chunk Of Indonesia Air Space

Three international airports in Indonesia are shut down after a volcano erupted late Thursday night on the heavily populated island of Java.

Ash spewed into the air can build up in the machinery of a plane, jamming the engines and causing them to fail, so airlines can’t risk flying through the area.

Air travel is a big deal in Indonesia, where rough terrain and large bodies of water make flying an especially good way to get around. The number of passengers on domestic routes has nearly tripled since 2004, according to the country’s Directorate General of Air Transportation.

So it’s jarring to see a huge chunk of empty air space, in this map from FlightRadar24. We’ve circled the affected area, and pointed out the approximate location of Mt. Kelud, the erupting volcano. The blue and white dots mark airports — exactly where you’d expect to see lots of planes.

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