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Kiribati's Transport Ministry denies claim over return of Fiji Airways

Kiribati’s  Ministry of Transport has denied involvement in the immediate return of a Fiji Airways flight from Christmas Island to the Nadi  International Airport last Wednesday. One of the passengers on board the flight was Presidential candidate for the opposition Tobwan Kiribati Party (BTB).

The Minister for Communications, Transport and Tourism Development Rimeta Beniamina told Radio Kiribati News the flight to Christmas was cancelled due to technical faults which prompted the pilots to avert the flight.

He said the immediate return of the plane to Nadi Airport was the decision of Fiji Airways and has nothing to do with the government or the Ministry of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development.

“It is very hard for a plane to return to the airport after taking off without any proper reason because it will be very costly for the airline if it does that without any good reason”.

“Nobody and no organisation have the right to tell any plane to return or change routes if it has taken off except when there’s technical problem to the plane that requires immediate action. In that case only the captain decides if the plane has to return or change course for the safety of the safety of the passengers”.

“Airline companies like Fiji Airways work independently and decides on its own flight schedule that best suits it financially. Through the discretion of the captain who is the pilot in command in any flight can the plane avert or continue its journey.

“The number one priority of any aircraft or airline company is the safety of its passengers, said Beniamina.

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