NEWS

Domestic Terminal, Weather Office Damaged

The Fua’amotu International Airport in Nukualofa, Tonga, suffered major damages to its domestic terminal. However, three days after Tropical Cyclone Gita devastated infrastructure on Monday night, the airport is running
16 Feb 2018 11:10
Domestic Terminal, Weather Office Damaged
New Zealand Air Force Hercules arrives with a consignment at the Fua’amotu International Airport in Tonga on February 15, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Fua’amotu International Airport in Nukualofa, Tonga, suffered major damages to its domestic terminal.

However, three days after Tropical Cyclone Gita devastated infrastructure on Monday night, the airport is running smoothly with domestic and international flights in operation.

The airport’s general manager, Tevita Fotu, said: “The major damage is at the domestic terminal. Therefore, we have moved the operation from the domestic terminal to the international terminals.

“The power is still off so we are running on generators. Fortunately we have two stand-by generators at the control tower and one in the international terminal.

“There were minor damages to the international terminal. The meteorology office headquarters was also damaged.”

Mr Fotu said they were not in a position to assess the damage sustained.

“The domestic terminal will cost close to Tongan Pa’anga $0.5 million ($F0.49 million), the whole roof blew away, the airline equipment, computers and part of our quality assurance and information services has been affected,” he said.

Some of the agencies are in operation from the airport such as currency exchange since there is a major power blackout in major areas in Tonga.

The major cyclone to have hit Tongatapu in recent history included Tropical Cyclone Hina in 1982. Tropical Cyclone Waka hit Vavau in mid-December 2001.

“Islands have experienced cyclone but this one was terrible from my point of view,” he said.

He confirmed that aid has started arriving on NZ Air Force aircraft. The first was airlifted into the kingdom Tuesday.

“Most of the farms are damaged as well, taro leaves being thrown over. People still have some stock and will have to harvest what’s left,’’ Mr Fotu said.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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