TWENTY-ONE Air Niugini passengers bound for Port Moresby from Nadi, Suva, were stranded in Fiji yesterday reportedly due to overbooking.
The group was in Fiji for the Ratu Mara Somare Cup golf challenge, which saw Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his team taking on a Fiji side.
A source told The National that Happy Gardener Justin Tkatchenko, who was among those stranded, became visibly upset after learning of the situation on Monday morning at Nadi airport.
“What a disaster,” he said.
The source said several women began crying after learning that the flight was full and they would have to overnight in Nadi.
Mr Tkatchenko and the 20 other passengers were to return to Port Moresby after PNG’s win in the golf challenge but quickly learned of the hiccup.
Heated arguments followed as some passengers demanded to know why they could not get on the flight.
Air Niugini struggled with a manual check-in system that included hand-written boarding cards, the source said.
It was a sour end to a successful weekend for PNG and Melanesian solidarity.
Air Niugini arranged accommodation for the group at a nearby hotel and has organised a special flight through the Solomon Islands to return to Port Moresby today, the source said.