PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Sept. 30) - A Hawaiian Airlines plane remained grounded in Tahiti on Monday (Sept.29) with an electrical problem after an initial mechanical problem had been repaired.

The majority of the 180 passengers originally scheduled to have left Tahiti for Honolulu early Sunday remained stranded on Monday.

"No new flight has been scheduled," Liz Schlecht, Hawaiian Airlines's regional representative in French Polynesia told Tahitipresse. "We’re now awaiting a diagnosis by an American engineer due to arrive at 6:45 pm Monday from Los Angeles on an Air Tahiti Nui flight.

"The initial mechanical problem has been repaired," the Hawaiian Airlines official said. "New parts to replace the faulty ones arrived at 11:15 pm Sunday on an Air Tahiti Nui flight from Los Angeles. After a test, an electrical problem was detected that this time was outside the knowledge of a mechanic."

With the exception of a few Japanese passengers who left Tahiti early Sunday for a direct flight to Tokyo on Air Tahiti Nui, the majority of the original 180 Hawaiian Airlines passengers remained stranded in Tahiti.

"Some others were able to take an Air France flight at 8 am Monday," Ms. Schlecht said.

Hawaiian Airlines had problems finding hotel rooms for the stranded passengers. "The hotels are particularly packed," an airline employee said Sunday night. Thirty stranded passengers were staying in hotels on Tahiti’s sister island of Moorea.

Hawaiian Airlines, which operates a weekly turnaround flight from Honolulu, has been serving French Polynesia since 1987. From 1999 until September 2001, Hawaiian Airlines operated six DC-10 weekly flight rotations carrying passengers to and from two Renaissance Cruises cruise ships based in Papeete for 10-day cruises among the outer islands. The cruises and the six flights ended when Renaissance Cruises declared bankruptcy.

October 2, 2003

Tahitipresse: www.tahiti.com


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