Issue No. 33/2020 – Friday, 11 September 2020 (Kitiona Tausi)
Fiji Air’s special flight at the arrangement of the government arrived afternoon after a period of six months non-operational following the declaration of the State of Public Health Emergency which also lockdown the country’s borders both land and sea except in special arrangement that allowed the cargo boat and the oil tanker to continue serving Tuvalu.
According to a live talk on Tuvalu.tv and Radio Tuvalu yesterday evening, the Chairman of the National Cononavirus Taskforce and also Secretary to Government, Dr. Tapugaoo Falefou thanked all thos personnel of the subgroup taskforce for Border Control and Security for a very successful operation they implemented during the arrival of the plane.
These included personnel from the Health Department, the Police Department, Customs, Immigration, airport staff and all others who were involved in the operation. He said that yesterday’s flight was not a full flight but it only brought in 48 passengers out of the normal capacity of more than 60 passengers.
Dr. Falefou explained that because iof the fuel issue, the plane took on a full tank from Fiji also for its return flight as it cannot refuel here because of the fuel that is yet to be inspected.
Among the arrivals included an engineer from Fiji who came to inspect the aviation fuel that had been left unused since the last flight into the country in March this year and also to test the new fuel supplies that was broiught in by the last voyage of the cargo boat.
Dr. Falefou said there are three flights expected to arrive sometimes this week or next week and the last two or three flights will arrive later after the passengers of the first three flight have been cleared from the quarantine shelters.
The return flight was not able to take on passengers because of the fuel issue and “when te fuel issue is cleared, perhaps the next and the following flights would be full flight from Fiji and will also able to take on passengers from Tuvalu to Fiji.
The repatriation fflights was an arrangement between the Government and the Australia Government who has kindly agreed to finance the repatriation flights.