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Fiji Time: 1:47 PM on Friday 19 September

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Airport works cause diversion

Salaseini Vosamana
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ALL Pacific Sun Labasa-bound flights remain cancelled until Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) completes the required safety improvement at the Waiqele Airport, says Pacific Sun general manager Shaenaz Voss.

And customers holding tickets to Labasa as well as those wishing to travel to and from Labasa will continue to have the option of flying to Savusavu Airport.

Miss Voss said as a result of the extended period of closure, Pacific Sun intended to run supplementary services into Savusavu from Suva and Nadi until Labasa airport could resume ATR-42 operations.

"However, customers are requested to note that the seat capacity on the much smaller Twin Otter aircraft is lower than the ATR aircraft, and Savusavu airport is restricted to daytime operations only," she said in a statement.

"Pacific Sun will not resume ATR-42 or DH6 Twin Otter operations to Labasa until AFL complete additional work to ensure the safety of its operations."

Mrs Voss said a decision on resumption of ATR-42 and DH6 Otter services into Labasa would be made after another assessment by Air Pacific and Pacific Sun safety teams following additional runway work by AFL.

"After the second round of inspections by the Safety and Flight Operations teams, it has been determined that safety requirements dictate that additional work must be completed to prevent loose gravel and rocks from damaging ATR-42 and DH-6 Otter aircraft and engines."

AFL general manager Lawrence Liew said: "With all chip-sealed runways around the world, operators have to continuously compact the chips, with the use of the heavy 12-tonne roller machine in our case until they are bonded by the bitumen."

"As far as resealing project is concerned, the work is completed according to the specification and we have obtained the engineers' certificate.

"We cannot avoid having a few loose chips from any new chip-sealed runway. It can and will cure more effectively with time and load."

As evident, Mr Liew said other airlines had resumed its operations to Labasa last week.


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