Airport incident clarified

FIJI Link has clarified that Labasa Airport has a wheelchair facility.

The clarification comes in the wake of complaints received by this newspaper and posted on social media that a passenger who arrived at the Labasa Airport last week was transferred on a stretcher after disembarking the aircraft to the waiting area.

The complainant, who refused to be identified, claimed there were no wheelchairs when they arrived at the airport.

The passenger claimed that his mother, who had difficulties walking, had to lie on the stretcher which was not a good sign.

“We requested a wheelchair, but we were given a stretcher and we were told by the staff members at the airport that there was no wheelchair available at the airport,” he said. “If they don’t have wheelchairs for old people who find it hard to walk, then there is a huge problem and they need to fix it.”

Responding to the complaint, Fiji Link general manager Athil Narayan confirmed the airport had a wheelchair facility.

“There are wheelchairs at the airport, however, on the day that the passenger travelled, the wheelchair had to be taken to Nadi for urgent repairs,” he said.

Mr Narayan said for the safety and comfort of the guest, Fiji Link staff members sought consent and used a stretcher to lift her from the aircraft to the terminal building.

“The stretcher carrying the guest was momentarily placed on the ground after disembarking to adjust positions in order to safely transfer her,” he said.

“Our team value the safety, comfort and dignity of our gu­ests and at no point were any of these compromised. Fiji Link is awaiting the delivery of additional wheelchairs for our guests requiring mobility assistance.”

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