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Mother, Daughter Team Up In The Air

Mother, Daughter Team Up In The Air
Leana Vuniwaqa, Captain Jimilai Baledrokadroka and Leanne Vuniwaqa with the new aircraft at the Fiji Airways Hangar in Nadi on January 4, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
January 05
11:11 2019

A mother and daughter, created history by being flight attendants at the same time with Fiji Airways.

They stood emotionally proud yesterday as they watched the airlines latest aircraft Boeing 737 MAX 8 Island of Gau, land at Nadi International Airport.

The aircraft is named after their island, Gau in the Lomaiviti Group.

Leanne Vuniwaqa, 46, fought back tears as she watched the aircraft make its way to the hangar while at the same time remembering her late dad who was an engineer for the then Air Pacific.

Mr Vuniwaqa died in 2005 and hailed from the village of Lovu on Gau Island.

“I started flying in 1995 and have been with the airline for 24 years.”

Ms Vuniwaqa’s daughter, Liana, 19, also joined the airline this year as a flight attendant.

“To be here and witness the aircraft named after my island is quite emotional.”

Ms Vuniwaqa, a purser onboard, said Liana had been learning a lot and she had also been imparting a lot of knowledge to her.

“It’s a great experience knowing she is also flying.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said this would mean a lot for the people of Gau as it is named after a particular island in the Lomaiviti Group.

“I know my dad will be so proud of my daughter and I today and for the people of Gau.”

Liana said this was a new experience for her as she had just completed high school at Shri Vivekanand College in Nadi.

“I have learnt a lot from mum and other crew members.

“For a few of us from Gau who work at Fiji Airways this is a big thing.

For Captain Jimilai Baledrokadroka it would have been the icing on the cake if the aircraft had flown above Gau Island.

“Cyclone Mona prevented this happening,” he said.

“It is a humbling experience and I thank the airline for giving me the opportunity to fly our island home.

“It is very nice to fly,” Captain Baledrokadroka said, adding that there were about 10 pilots from Gau who worked at Fiji Airways..

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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