Indonesian airport reopens after haze lifts

Published: Sunday, November 12, 2006, 21:22 [IST]
 

JAKARTA, Nov 12 (Reuters) A major Indonesian airport on Borneo island has reopened after being closed for weeks because of thick smoke from forest fires, an airport official said today.

Cilik Riwut airport, which serves the town of Palangkaraya and is the main air hub in Central Kalimantan province, had been declared safe for flights, Ngurah, an airport officer, told Elshinta radio.

The official said visibility had improved to 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).

Visibility had falling as low as 30 metres in early October during the worst of the haze.

So far, only Dirgantara Air Service was operating, while two other airlines had said flights would remain cancelled until November 15, the official said.

The haze from fires in Borneo and Indonesia's Sumatra island has been particularly bad during this year's dry season, spreading pollution across large areas of Southeast Asia.

The fires, often deliberately lit by farmers or by timber and palm oil plantation firms, have been largely extinguished in Sumatra after recent rain and weeks of water bombing by fire-fighting aircraft.

Conditions in Borneo have also got better, although some problems remain.

REUTERS SP RN1254


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