Tokua flights stay suspended

National, Normal


PLANS are underway by Air Niugini in Kokopo, East New Britain province, to wash off the Mt Tavurvur volcano ash fall from Tokua airport runway and tarmac in what is expected to be a two-week clean-up.
The clean-up, due at the weekend, would involve the hosing of the whole runway, according to Air Niugini.
Air Niugini suspended all its flights early this month after a change in wind directions forced volcanic ash on Kokopo and the Tokua areas disrupting flights.
The airline said in a public notice last Friday that flights would remain suspended until the clean-up was completed and there were no further ash fall.
“It is still unsafe to immediately operate flights in and out of Rabaul at this time, with volcanic ash on the ground,” it said, noting that the ash fall had stopped since Friday.
Air Niugini said that at this stage, they were unable to give any guarantees that normal flights would resume soon – all depended on wind direction, ash fall and the clean-up.
Passengers intending to make arrangements for other mode of transport out of Rabaul were advised that they could do so.
All tickets issued from Rabaul or to Rabaul, before or on Dec 7, could be used to travel from or to a nearest airport to Rabaul at the fare ticketed from or to Rabaul.
Air Niugini acknowledged the public for their patience and understanding during these difficult times with flight disruptions and sympathised for the inconveniences caused.