IT'S a relief, is how the business community described the return of Pacific Sun flights to Labasa airport on Saturday.
Pacific Sun's ATR-42 made its first flight to the airport touching down on the newly-made tarmac that has been recently a subject of debate.
Passengers who flew in from Nausori described the new tarmac as safe and different from the previous runway.
Mahen Kumar said: "I didn't even know I was on the tarmac. Compared to the old one, we can feel it when the plane lands but for this one, I didn't know we had touched down as the ride was so smooth."
Another passenger Tui Jalesi said it was a relief having being told that Labasa passengers would fly on the ATR-42 to Waiqele airport.
"We were so glad and relieved and even touching down on the new tarmac feels so good. The old tarmac was not like this one. You could actually hear the tyres and feel a bit of a bumpy ride when the plane touched down on the old tarmac."
Labasa Chamber of Commerce president Ashok Karan said having Pacific Sun fly back to Labasa after almost two months was a very positive sign.
"Though we have had to bear the brunt of it, the business community including hoteliers, private business people and other stakeholders got affected when the airline stopped services to Labasa," Mr Karan said.
"It is indeed a relief and we only hope that nothing else goes wrong especially when we are approaching the festive season," he said.
A government statement released yesterday stated: "Pacific Sun is conducting more test flights into Labasa today (yesterday) after work on the airport runway to address its safely concerns.
"One of its ATR-42s made a successful proving flight to Labasa."
It stated the first flight touched down on Saturday while other flights were made yesterday.
"If they are successful, the airline plans to resume full commercial operations into Labasa tomorrow (today)."