TONGA TRAVEL PLANS IN LIMBO OVER AIRLINE DELAY

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HONOLULU, Hawaii (Pacific Islands Report, Dec. 19) - Hundreds of Tongans who are hoping to arrive in Nuku‘alofa this week to spend Christmas with families are still hanging in the balance as they await a final decision from Royal Tongan Airlines.

The Airlines office in Honolulu says it has received information from Royal Tonga in Nuku‘alofa indicating that Royal Tonga’s new aircraft is unlikely to make its first flight to and from Honolulu this week.

The Boeing 757 was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu early Friday morning, December 20, Hawaii Time.

The airline’s office in Honolulu says they were told that the sudden changes are due to technical problems experienced by the aircraft and the flight is likely to be delayed.

The office did not give a specific time for how long the delay would be.

However some of the passengers living on the U.S. mainland and the outer islands of Hawaii have made arrangements to be in Honolulu by Thursday to board Royal Tonga.

Staffs at the Royal Tonga office in Honolulu say they are now trying to advise travel agencies and passengers about the changes.

It is understood that this is a very critical time since Polynesian Airlines and Air Pacific who are also flying to Tonga are already overbooked.

Unless Royal Tonga make arrangements for a special flight during the weekend, or early next week, passengers will either have to spend Christmas in Honolulu or somewhere else.

December 19, 2002

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