Ruang volcano eruption: Calm atmosphere despite lengthy queues at KLIA Terminal 1 due to flight disruptions

The situation at KLIA Terminal 1. Photo credit: Zaid Zaini

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, April 18: The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA Terminal 1) has managed to maintain a sense of calm and orderliness among passengers, despite the widespread flight cancellations caused by the volcanic eruption of Mount Ruang in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

In an exclusive interview with DayakDaily today, Zaid Zaini, former managing director of Sacofa Sdn Bhd, shared his experience of being stranded at KLIA Terminal 1 after his Malaysia Airlines’ flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching today was cancelled.


Despite the long queues, Zaid noticed that passengers remained calm and understanding, with no one becoming agitated or raising their voices.

“There are currently long lines everywhere at the airport because almost every flight since this morning has been affected. There are flights to Tawau, Kuching, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu, and Bintulu, among other destinations. Despite the long lines, the atmosphere is calm and quite orderly.

“Just earlier, some Malaysian Airlines passengers in the queue were given bottles of water and food, particularly those with children. The staff members distributed food and water.

“But generally, the situation here is very calm and orderly, because people know it’s an act of nature. It’s not like it’s anyone’s fault. And nobody wanted to take the risk. Everyone wants to make sure we can fly safely,” he said.

Passengers patiently awaiting for their luggage to be unloaded from their flight. Photo credit: Zaid Zaini

Zaid further commended Malaysia Airlines customer service for their polite and thorough explanation of the situation, as well as their assistance with flight arrangements.

He revealed that Malaysia Airlines has rescheduled his flight for Saturday morning (April 20), the earliest flight possible given that all flights must be cancelled today and tomorrow (April 19).

When asked how he felt about the flight cancellations today, he said: “My rule of thumb is that when you’re scheduled to fly, it’s always better if the problems are on the ground than to have problems in the air and be unable to land.

“So I stayed cool and calm about it. As a result, we will have to accept whatever nature has in store for us.”

Meanwhile, checks by DayakDaily revealed that over 1,000 passengers were stranded at Kuching International Airport (KIA) today, as approximately 35 inbound and outbound flights connecting Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, and Singapore were either cancelled or rescheduled.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed the cancellation of 19 flights, while AirAsia has cancelled 16 flights to and from KLIA which mainly impacted routes between Kuala Lumpur and Sabah and Sarawak.

In addition, as reported by Bernama, the recent volcanic eruption at Mount Ruang has caused the formation of ash clouds that are now heading towards the Kota Kinabalu Flight Information Regions (FIR).

The situation has raised concerns about the safety of aircraft in that airspace, as highlighted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

Mount Ruang erupted on Tuesday night (April 16) and has continued to do so four times since, prompting authorities to raise the alert level to its highest, level four. — DayakDaily