Tuvalu News

Passengers stranded as Air Fiji cancels flights

24 August, 2008

AN airline called off its scheduled flights yesterday and grounded its 11 aircraft leaving passengers stranded yesterday.

Air Fiji flights from Nadi Airport in the West and Labasa in Vanua Levu were called off.

According to its operations centre, flights may resume on Tuesday due to "technical problems" but it declined to specify what the problem was.

The company's fleet compromises a nine-seater BN-2 Islander, Banderante, DHS-Twin Otter and Chinese-made Y- 12 Habin.

A pilot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were told to be on standby.

"They're not saying anything to the pilots, but we've been told to be on standby tomorrow (today)," he said.

We're all in the dark."

The increase in fuel this year prompted the company to re-look at its operations with chief executive Sialeni Vuetaki admitting earlier this year that operational costs have rocketed following the increase in fuel price.

Mr Vuetaki had earlier said the future of the company looked bleak and they would need to cut back on operational costs if the company was to stay afloat.

Juhi, which supplies fuel to Air Fiji, said it was in no position to make a comment and referred all questions to Air BP.

Mr Vuetaki hung up when contacted yesterday.

The grounding of its fleet caught passengers off-guard when arrived at the airport to be informed of the cancellation.

The Tuvalu Government and Catic, a Chinese company, owns 51 per cent shares in Air Fiji.

Tuvalu deputy high commissioner Samuelu Laloliu said he was not aware of the grounding of the fleet.


Source: Fiji Times

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