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By RACHNA LAL
Following a second day of safety inspections of the Labasa Airport runway, Pacific Sun has confirmed they will resume their flights to Labasa from Sunday September 23.
This will be after Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) completes additional work on the Labasa Airport runway.
Pacific Sun general manager, Shaenaz Voss, said after recent work by AFL to repair and improve the runway, their safety and flight operations teams had determined safety requirements dictate that additional work must be accomplished.
This, she said was to prevent loose gravel and chips from the repaired runway from damaging ATR-42 and DH-6 Otter aircraft and engines during take-off and landing.
“Because of these safety requirements and aircraft hazards, Pacific Sun will not resume ATR-42 or DH6 Twin Otter operations to Labasa until AFL competes additional work to ensure the safety of its operations,” she said.
“As a result, Pacific Sun regrettably advises that all services into Labasa are cancelled for another week, and will not start until Sunday, September 23.”
Ms Voss said a decision on resumption of ATR-42 and DH6 Otter services into Labasa will be made after another assessment by Air Pacific and Pacific Sun safety teams following additional runway work by AFL on Friday.
“We’ve made this difficult but necessary decision to cancel services to Labasa from Nadi and Suva in the interest of safety – for our customers, crew, and our aircraft,” she said.
“We’ve already had to repair and replace three ATR-42 engines this year because of damage caused by the condition of the old runway, and we cannot resume operations until the repaired runway meets all safety standards.
“Safety is an uncompromising priority for us, and until the runway meets our strict safety standards, we will not be able to operate our ATR or Twin Otter aircraft into Labasa.”
She has advised customers holding tickets for Labasa services to contact their call centre on 3304388 for further advice, including options on alternative flights to Savusavu.