APIA, Samoa (RNZI, Jan. 24) - Polynesian Airlines says it will its change its schedule to Niue to allow dozens of stranded passengers to fly back to New Zealand.

About 60 people have been forced to remain on the island for several weeks longer than they had planned because of a lack of seats on the single weekly flight to Auckland.

They had bought open-ended return tickets but with just 40 or so seats available each week some have been wait-listed for the flight to Auckland since before New Year.

But Sala Petelo Vaioulu, General Manager of Polynesian’s commercial operations, says they expect to clear the backlog in a week.

"We arranged for our flight on Monday, which is the normal flight through Niue, to pick up 22 passengers, and then on Thursday next week, we've blocked off 30 to 40 seats to accommodate the remaining backlog that we believe that they have in Niue," said Vaioulu.

He says the weekly flights, which began in October, have been hugely successful and the airline is considering diverting more of its Apia-Auckland services to Niue.

January 24, 2003

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.

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