Monday, April 02, 2012

Air New Zealand sends bigger plane to flooded Fiji

Air New Zealand is sending a larger aircraft to Fiji on Tuesday to fly more people out of the flood-stricken islands.

Thousands of tourists are stuck in Fiji, where a state of emergency has been declared for most of the Western Division where heavy flooding has killed five people and forced thousands into evacuation centres.

The 304-seat Boeing 777 replaces the 168-seat Airbus A320 for the return flight from Auckland to Nadi, but will depart in the afternoon rather than the morning, Air NZ said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is advising anyone travelling to Fiji to contact their travel agent for updates.

There are 433 New Zealanders registered as living in Fiji, 118 of them in Nadi. No New Zealanders were known to be injured or at risk in the flooding.

Any tourists in Fiji were advised to follow the instructions of local authorities and avoid tourist activities and non-essential travel in the west of Viti Levu.

On Monday an Air NZ 747 aircraft, with about 250 passengers returned from Nadi. The empty aircraft had flown to Nadi at the request of the Fiji government.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand would offer assistance to Fiji.

MFAT says there has been no request for international assistance.

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