Haze prompts airport closure in Riau

Haze prompts airport closure in Riau

9 July 2009

published by www.thejakartapost.com

Indonesia —

Authorities have closed Pinang Kampai Airport in Dumai, Riau, since 7 a.m. on Thursday due to low visibility caused by thick haze.

Edi Kusniadi, the airport’s chief, said that visibility had dropped below 300 meters.

“We denied permission to land to a Pelita Air plane from Jakarta here at 7:30 this morning. The weather is terrible,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Edi said they could not predict when they would open the airport.

Visibility in Dumai, a coastal city facing the Malaka Strait, has fallen below 50 meters, forcing motorists to drive slowly and turn on their vehicle lights during the day.

Haze has been hitting the city for the last two months and the airport has been frequently closed.

The annual smog is caused by forest burning. Dozens of hotspots, or large fires sparked illegally to clear land, have been spotted in Riau province.

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